Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty
When you're making a movie about one of the most famous women in the world -- in history -- the spotlight is going to be bright, hot, and uncomfortable.
That's what James Ponsoldt is finding out as he gets ready to direct a biopic about former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Already, "Rodham" is getting more attention than his previous projects, "Smashed" and Sundance darling "The Spectacular Now."
"More than any film I've ever been involved with, you can't afford to get it wrong," he tells TheWrap. "It's going to be so scrutinized for all the things that 'Spectacular Now' was: Is it emotionally honest? Do we care? Those are all relevant -- but also, every political loose thread will be tugged at, and you have to bring a rigor to every single choice you make and every liberty you take. So we're just getting that script right."
And not just the script. There's the all-important issue of casting, as well. Hollywood is abuzz with speculation over who will play the young Clinton. Carey Mulligan passed, and Jessica Chastain denied reports she was taking on the role, but the name of pretty much every other actress is in the mix, including Scarlett Johansson, Amanda Seyfried, Reese Witherspoon, and Emma Stone.
As for the content of the biopic, Ponsoldt explains that it will focus on a narrow frame of Clinton's life -- one that doesn't include her presidential ambitions or her reactions to husband President Bill Clinton's sex scandal.
"It's not a cradle-to-the-grave biopic, it's not 'Here's 13 years in her life when she was most humiliated in front of America,'" he says. Instead, the movie will take place in the '70s, with a 20-something Rodham working on a committee involved in President Richard Nixon's impeachment.
"And oh, by the way, she was one of the best and brightest, and her boyfriend was in Arkansas, and she had to choose between her brilliant political career and the love of her life," Ponsoldt adds. "It is about someone choosing between love and ambition, about sacrifice, and about gender and equality."