Malibu Scene: Watergate Redo

Malibuite Julia Roberts stars in one of the upcoming projects based on Watergate. 

“All the President’s Men,” a dramatic retelling of the Watergate saga, turns 45 and remains the most influential movie of the year.

Although it would be hard to improve on the original, several new projects are in the works with A-list stars.

Martha Mitchell, the outspoken wife of Nixon’s attorney general, will be played by Julia Roberts in a production called “Gaslit” on Starz.

Justin Theroux will star as Watergate mastermind G. Gordon Liddy in HBO’s “The White House Plumbers.” That project will also feature Woody Harrelson, who steps into the role of ex-CIA agent and Watergate goon E. Howard Hunt, and “Downton Abby” alum Dan Stevens will portray John Dean, a Nixon lawyer turned prosecution witness in “Gaslit.”

It will be interesting to see how the redos stack up to the original, “All the President’s Men.”

Robert Redford plays methodical Bob Woodward at the height of his golden boy looks, while Dustin Hoffman portrays his partner the impetuous, chain smoking Carl Bernstein.

You’ll see in the day throwbacks like typewriters and telephone books, all this before Google or the internet. There is a lot to work with as the film turned one of the nation’s biggest political scandals that led to the fall of a sitting president and into a pop culture classic. 

It revolves around two Washington Post reporters who lift the layers around the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee and the cover-up that led all the way to Richard Nixon. 

Redford is quoted as saying, “The film is about two guys who came together in search of the truth because democracy was at stake.”

The importance of a free press and truth especially resonate in 2021.

Redford, who also produced the movie, contacted reporters about the rights to the story even before they had written their book, also called “All the President’s Men.”

Back then, studios worried that Watergate would soon be old news but director Alan J. Pakula makes every scene a tense adrenaline rush.

There are dead ends in the reporting, clandestine late-night meetings in a shadowy parking garage and paranoid sources. 

Phrases like “follow the money” have entered our vocabulary. In fact, many think Deep Throat (played by Hal Holbrook) said it in real life. 

Some scenes are still being played out today as journalists at the Capitol riot also feared for their lives. 

So if you are eager to match up the parallels, look for Starz’ “Gaslit” and HBO’s “The White House Plumbers,” and don’t forget to “follow the money.”