The "A Beautiful Mind" director said he could recall watching 1977 interviews between disgraced U.S. President Richard Nixon and talk show host David Frost about the political scandal, the New York Post reported Sunday.
"I was 23 years old, watching these interviews in a state of confusion and frustration over having lived through Vietnam and Watergate, and really wanting some clarity," Howard told the newspaper. "It was a remarkable thing to see a president of the United States grilled in that way."
The interviews serve as the motivation for the Broadway play and Howard's film, which is due out in theaters Friday.
"Whatever was motivating David Frost -- whether it was the entrepreneur in him wanting to create a remarkable television event, this burgeoning journalist that really did want to get at a truth, or a celebrity who wanted the biggest spotlight on the biggest stage he could find -- who knows," Howard told the Post.