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SWING VOTE

The Election
"I thought it would be great to just take Kevin and kind of deconstruct his persona — his iconic movie-star persona — and just let him be a guy.” - Joshua Michael Stern, Director

With more than 100 roles to fill, the process of casting might have been a bit arduous, but the pieces fell into place rather quickly, beginning with the film's protagonist, Bud Johnson. "Bud Johnson represents a lot of people out there,” notes Richman. "He's a person who just hears white noise coming from the political system — he's heard a lot of promises over the years, and he's sort of given up on the system. That's what was so fun about putting a character like that in the center of the storm.”

Stern knew from the beginning who he wanted for the role. "I always thought Kevin Costner would be great. He's so good at playing the everyman — the guy that everyone relates to,” says Stern. "I thought it would be great to just take Kevin and kind of deconstruct his persona — his iconic movie-star persona — and just let him be a guy.”

Costner was intrigued with the everyman role. "Bud is a classic American character,” says Costner. "He's kind of a ne'er-do-well — a likeable rascal but flawed. He's also a careless human being in the sense that he's drifted in his life, moves from job to job, was married at one point and now has a fifth grader he's raising who kind of runs the house.” As "Swing Vote” unfolds, Bud is courted by heavyweight politicos and their right-hand men, who add to the comedy and are key to making the story work.

But who would be President? Costner was quick to suggest Kelsey Grammer. "I had this really strong feeling about Kelsey — he has a presidential air about him and he's such a good actor,” he says. Stern agrees, adding that he could easily envision Grammer in the White House. "He's got that vibe. He could run for President,” says Stern, who describes Grammer's character as "a bit dim.” "But he brought something completely different to it, something very sincere.”

Grammer, a multiple Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® winner best known as the beloved character Frasier on the acclaimed series "Cheers” and "Frasier,” signed on immediately. "I really enjoyed the way it sort of lampooned the whole political process, and paid equal shrift to Republican and Democratic candidates,” says Grammer. "It points out the foibles in both and actually does encourage us to believe in the political process based upon the fact that a man might actually see the light from time to time.”

As for his character Andrew Boone, Grammer sees him as quite a complex man who is a dedicated public servant and an optimist with a belief in the American people. "But he also is a man of political expediency and ambition,” adds Grammer. "There's something hopeful and wonderful about him — and there's something formidable about him as well because he understands that he has power, he understands that he has a responsibility to do good with power.”

But Grammer still finds a way to bring out the comedy in the role. "In this case, one man's vote is going to decide the Presidency,” says Grammer, "and that actually is a great engine to drive a lot of foolish behavior.”

Stern particularly liked the surprise Dennis Hopper promised. "Casting him as the Democratic contender was amazing. He looks so distinguished, but he mixes it up a little bit. He's unexpected and I think that's always fun for an audience. It's fun to see people you've liked in the past up there doing something new.”

Indeed, Hopper's roster of film credits includes some of Hollywood's most classic film titles — from "Rebel Without a Cause” to "Easy Rider” to "Hoosiers” — and, likewise, some gritty roles. So casting the actor as the Democratic hopeful offered a bit of a twist. Hopper's character, Donald Greenleaf, has th

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