Hollywood on the Potomac: World Premiere of ‘The Conspirator’

by kevin_chaffee

The stars come out for history.
By Janet Donovan

Cast members Evan Rachel Wood, James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Kevin Kline and Tom Wilkinson. Photo by Janet Donovan.

If you think you know everything about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, you’re in for a surprise.

The world premiere of “The Conspirator” opened at Ford’s Theatre where throngs of onlookers cheered the cast on in front of what was the Peterson Boarding House, where Lincoln died the morning after he was shot.

“The fact that nobody knows about this and it’s tied to an event that everybody knows about is a movie worth telling,” said actor-director Robert Redford. “Stories that people don’t know about always appeal to me – the story that everybody thinks they know about but [they] don’t; that was the real reason for doing the film.”

The center of the film revolves around Mary Surratt (played by Robin Wright), who was wrongfully hanged for her role in the assassination plot while protecting her son. “I have to be aligned in that feeling that you have this undying will to protect your kids,” she said. “It’s a movie about two human beings coming to an understanding of each other’s side. It’s about a mother and her love for her child. She was just being a mother.”

Kevin Kline plays Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. “I didn’t know this chapter in history,” Klein said. “We know about Lincoln’s assassination, [but] I didn’t know there were so many people involved. Klein recalled the adage that history is written by the victors and that the history most people learn in high school isn’t the complete story. “Read Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of The United States. There’s always a story behind the story, and that’s what this film is about.”

Being in the real setting, it was easy to envision the pandemonium that took place on that fateful evening as cabinet members, doctors and generals gathered in horror and disbelief after the shooting.


“Momentum is on our side,” said David Hyde Pierce at the Alzheimer’s Gala. “My family has been touched by that disease.” When asked how that affected thoughts about his own future he calmly added “I think less about my own future and more about what a terrible disease it is.”

On recognizing Alzheimer’s, he reminded us that there is a normal forgetfulness that comes with aging because our brains do slow down. “Where you need to be concerned is when it affects your daily life and your ability to do your job.”

When asked about the future for a cure, he assured us that in the last year there have been amazing breakthroughs.

“There are new insights almost every week and that’s a miracle.”


Lionel Barber at his Financial Times reception at The Anderson House:

“I would like to salute and give tribute to the president in the United States, [meaning] the president of the Financial Times in America, who paid for this party.”

Ray Regan at Cafe Milano on the night of Charlie Sheen’s D.C. gig:

“Watching Charlie Sheen on TV when he had that breakdown eight weeks ago is what started my sobriety wagon.”

The ever loquacious Clint Eastwood had this to say during his three-week shoot in Warrenton, Va.: “Thank you.”

Miss America Teresa Scanlon at lunch in her honor:

“I don’t think that any other woman can try on the crown; as for men, we’ll see about that.’’

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