I, more of a method actor, would have channeled my inner rage at the years of Donald Trump’s illegal and immoral acts, and I would have been more in touch with my fury after two years of Trump and his stooges accusing me of running a witch hunt. I would have dropped the unruffled exterior and been more, let’s say, expansive in my response. I may have dropped an f-bomb or two or eight. The emphasis would have shifted more to me — which is what audiences expect from their movie stars — while Mueller preferred to stay in the background, putting country and integrity first, and letting action and facts speak for him. These are old-fashioned values, not cool enough for today’s distracted audience. Even more important, the Academy doesn’t give Oscars for “calm, confident and dignified.”
Some differences in our approach to playing Mueller are so subtle that the casual viewer would hardly notice. For example, where Mueller’s Mueller might refer to Trump as “president,” I might use the equally descriptive and familiar “malignant narcissist.”
Still, as I watched Mueller’s performance, I couldn’t help but think that a public servant should not have to “perform” to command our attention.
It seems that everyone — the Democrats, Trump and the Republicans, the country — got what they wanted from the hearings, and yet no one was satisfied.