Fair Game director Doug Liman’s film was well received at Cannes as a political exposé of the Bush administration’s White House press leak regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame, played by Naomi Watts. But Liman told this morning’s press conference that he just wanted to make a movie about people under pressure. “This is not an advocacy film,” Liman said. “Fair Game is just trying to tell a story about something that happened. I didn’t have an agenda apart from just showing what the Wilsons went through.” But Liman also repeated Justice Brandeis’ famous words that sunlight is the best disinfectant. “Even better than punishing some of the players, is to expose them,” he said.
Liman said that Fair Game is the kind of film he’s been trying to make for years — not always with success. He said that his Bourne Identity was mean to be a political parable. And he noted that even when he worked on The OC he tried inserting socially conscious ideas into the TV series — that is, until producer Fox intervened. Even Liman’s lineage is political — his father Arthur served as chief counsel for the U.S. Senate investigation into the Reagan White House’s Iran-Contra scandal. But at least Fair Game producer Jerry Zucker is upfront about what attracted him to the film’s story: that Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, was somebody who always told the truth, and “a democracy can’t survive unless there’s truth.”
Naomi Watts says the film to her is “the story is about an incredible betrayal and how she [Plame] survived against all the odds.” The actress spent two days at the CIA’s Virginia-based agent training facility, known as The Farm, where Plame graduated first in her class. “How many women can say they’ve breastfed while packing a weapon?” Watts noted.