Epix’s single-camera dramedy, Graves, which tells the story of former two-term POTUS Richard Graves (Nick Nolte), as he tries to right the wrongs of his administration and reclaim his legacy, 25 years after leaving the White House is not, as some have suggested, a skewering of Ronald Reagan, creator Joshua Stern insisted this afternoon at TCA.
One TV critic, of the “it’s about Reagan” school, said the Reagan motif does not work in that the series’ central character is not just a bad president, but is recognizing as having been one of the worse ever.
Stern insisted the character is a composite, with a little Regan, and a lot LBJ, plus a smidgen of Clinton, and was carefully created to straddle both political parties.
Even so, another critic in the room asked rhetorically if the series was “wish fulfillment for liberals” who wonder what it would be like if George W. Bush and Regan suddenly woke up and the scales fell from their eyes.
That’s about when Nolte stepped in:
“I’m 75 and I have lot of regrets. This is a man who…knows he’s going to die and is looking back on his life and some of the things he did earlier and regrets. There isn’t a President that doesn’t, but they don’t do anything about it, because they’re in the public eye. We take license. I use Ronald Reagan because I didn’t think he was a good President. He was a bad actor. I didn’t get this “great orator” – he was a bad speech-maker. It’s also a lot of Johnson, and some Kennedy.”
One reporter in the room announced he would watch a series called Nick Nolte’s Regrets.
Nolte later spoke a while about his Hispanic gardener, and his gardener’s wife, and their kids who are now through college and going to work and being productive human beings, adding “without these immigrants I don’t know what California would do…but all we’re hearing is how bad [Hispanic immigrant are]…and the wall.”
In conclusion, Nolte said. “We forget every day how lucky we are to be alive. Every one of you here, you’re only a breath away from death.”
“That’ a threat by the way,” cast member Chris Lowell explained helpfully. “You better write the best fucking reviews of this show.”