Langella reprises 'Nixon' role in film

Dec. 2, 2008 at 6:17 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Frank Langella says a scene in "Frost/Nixon," where former U.S. President Richard Nixon calls David Frost the night before their final interview, is fictitious.

Langella and Michael Sheen played Nixon and Frost respectively in the stage version of playwright Peter Morgan's "Frost/Nixon" in London and New York, then reprised their roles in director Ron Howard's new film adaptation.

The fact-based play and film are about how fading British television star Frost landed a series of exclusive interviews with Nixon after the president resigned due to the Watergate scandal.

One scene shows Nixon calling Frost the night before their final sit-down and telling Frost how he thinks they are both fighters whom people look down on and who need a win to regain some of their past glory.

"The phone call was completely fiction," Langella told UPI in New York recently. "The phone call is Peter's notion of what a confrontation off-camera would have been like between these two men. ... And Nixon was pretty well-known for making late-night phone calls and maybe having a drink or two or maybe having just taken a sleeping pill. And his staff was instructed the next day to look at his phone log and call everybody and say, 'Whatever the president told you, don't do it.' He liked to make late-night calls and he liked to ramble."

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