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Jay Roach on ‘All the Way,’ Palin, & Trump

Larry King NowMay 18 '16

Award-winning director Jay Roach sits down for a thoughtful interview to discuss his new HBO film 'All the Way,' why he says Sarah Palin created the Trump phenomenon, and remarks on the status of another 'Austin Powers' movie.


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on May 18th 2016:

“Spielberg optioned it and brought it to HBO. I was working with Bryan on ‘Trumbo’ at the time, prepping that, and I saw the play first not knowing that I would be involved in it. Then HBO and Spielberg came to me and asked me to direct it so I went and saw it again. It was amazing. [Bryan Cranston] won a Tony for it.” —Jay Roach on how he was given the movie ‘All the Way’ to direct

“I was actually interested in serious films when I was a screenwriter. I wrote mostly dramas. But I met Mike Myers and always loved his work and we shared interests in work by Woody Allen and Monty Python. And so I gave him notes on it and was helping him look for a director. It was like the Dick Cheney story when he was helping Bush search for a vice president. Then [Mike Myers] said, ‘You know, I actually put you up for it,’ and I was stunned. I didn’t really think of myself as a comedy director but I ended up having a few ideas that he liked and I had to go in and pitch and he fought for me to get the gig. But serious films are what I wanted to get back to.” —Jay Roach on how he started off directing comedies such as ‘Austin Powers’ thanks to Mike Myers

“Doctor King and LBJ were trying to figure out if they could trust each other and Doctor King had been disappointed by president after president. There were no serious civil rights legislation done since the civil war, really. Kennedy hadn’t gotten it done and Johnson says five days after the assassination, ‘One of the first things I’m gonna do is pass the civil rights bill.’ Doctor King wasn’t sure he could trust him because he has watered down - to some extent - earlier bills, so there is a great scene where they are sort of squaring off and trying to figure each other out. Doctor King needed LBJ and he needed Doctor King. They worked together to pass that bill. But LBJ didn’t know if Doctor King could build up enough fire to back the bill but not too much where there would be a blowback which would cause people to be afraid of the riots and switch to Goldwater.” —Jay Roach on the story of Lyndon B. Johnson’s relationship with Doctor Martin Luther King jr.

“He’s amazing. The soulfulness, the heart, the passion and the craft. He’s been doing it a long time but he kind of became famous late and I think that’s to his benefit. He thinks like a storyteller so it’s a collaboration. I really feel lucky to get to work with him.” —Jay Roach on working with Bryan Cranston

“I think many of the issues with civil rights are still here with us. Who knew after all these years we would still be fighting for justice or voting rights, which I got to know so well doing ‘Recount’ in 2000. I am very humbled by what’s happened since then. I thought our film would trigger all sorts of voter reform because it was so much about purging voters, suppressing voters, and making voting more difficult. Instead it’s almost in a way like a training film for people to learn to manipulate the system by suppressing votes. It was really a painful reality.” —Jay Roach on civil rights still being abused today

“I said something in one interview when we were releasing ‘Tumbo.’’ I said, ‘Isn’t wisdom a minimum basic requirement for leadership in our country?’ Do we think of Trump as a wise man? That’s what I look for in leaders- people who have wisdom and not ego. I think wisdom should be a much much higher ranking virtue than ego.” —Jay Roach on his views of Donald Trump

“It’s crazy that people aren't paid on an equal basis. There’s a lot of old traditions and old ways of doing things that were inherited from the studio system, which have very much been an old boys network. And it’s not just pay- it’s the percentages of various groups that are very poorly represented. Especially in directing, we talk about it all the time in the directors guild, but it’s all across the board. It’s ironic too because there are a fair number of women running studios now, but it just takes time. It’s something people are working on and at least it’s come to everyone’s attention.” —Jay Roach on his views of equal pay rates in Hollywood

“I have been working on a movie about [Joseph] Goebbels. That’s the beginning of propaganda. ‘The Big Lie’ and all that. Don’t tell anybody though. Oh wait, are we on camera? I think that’s a horrible story and an amazing picture of how you can convince people to do anything. And once you prey on their fears and their prejudices and their own innate tribalism, you can get them to do anything.” —Jay Roach on working on a movie about Joseph Goebbels that is currently under wraps