HBO, Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux: Casting call for ‘White House Plumbers’

Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux. Photo courtesy of HBO.

Filming will begin in May for a new HBO series about Watergate starring Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux.

“The White House Plumbers” will be a five-part limited series revolving around the scandal that left President Richard Nixon disgraced and forced him to resign in 1974.

The project will be filmed in New York’s Hudson Valley and marks yet another return to the region by HBO. “I Know This Much Is True” with Mark Ruffalo and “The Undoing” with Nicole Kidman were also filmed in the area. Along with John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place,” the HBO projects underscore the booming, multi-million-dollar surge of the Hudson Valley as a destination for filmmakers, celebrities and high profile projects. The Hudson Valley is also home to the Woodstock-based Hudson Valley Film Commission and annual Woodstock Film Festival.

News of “The White House Plumbers” and a local casting call for extras was posted online March 3 by the Hudson Valley Film Commission, in a follow-up to an earlier announcement by Grant Wilfley Casting.

Based on public records and the book “Integrity” by Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh, “The White House Plumbers” according to HBO tells “the true story of how Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, accidentally toppled the presidency they were trying to protect.”

Harrelson is starring as Hunt and Theroux will star as Liddy. The White House “plumbers” were a “secret team assembled to stop government leaks after defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press,” according to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, Liddy was a former FBI agent who helped plan the break-in at the Watergate Hotel headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, which sat at the center of the scandal. Hunt was a former CIA operative who organized the bugging of the Democratic headquarters. “Hunt’s phone number in address books belonging to the Watergate burglars helped investigators – and reporters – connect the break-in to the president and his reelection campaign,” reads washingtonpost.com.

Filming is set for Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh in New York’s Hudson Valley and local residents interested in working as extras are being sought, according to Grant Wilfley Casting. Those who want to work as extras must be comfortable working around smoke; have natural-colored hair; and be comfortable with possibly having their hair altered to a 1970s style. Click here to learn more about being an extra.

Liddy, interestingly enough, served as a Dutchess County assistant district attorney, based in Poughkeepsie, prior to joining the Nixon administration.

Harrelson and Theroux will also serve as executive producers. Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, writers and executive producers on television’s “Veep,” created “The White House Plumbers” and will serve as executive producers along with “Veep” showrunner David Mandel. Mandel will also direct the series. Frank Rich, executive producer of “Veep” and “Succession,” will also serve as executive producer.

According to whitehouse.gov, Nixon in 1972 defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern, “by one of the widest margins on record.”

But a few months into his second term, the Watergate scandal emerged. Administration officials resigned; and some were later convicted of crimes related to the cover-up. According to the Washington Post, Hunt was convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping, and served nearly three years in prison. Liddy according to the Post served more than four years in prison following his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in, conspiracy in the Daniel Ellsberg case and contempt of court.

Nixon denied involvement but was exposed by tape recordings that the courts forced him to surrender.

Rather than face impeachment, Nixon resigned in August 1974.

2 thoughts on “HBO, Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux: Casting call for ‘White House Plumbers’

  1. John: if you can look back for a clip of a fascinating Journal story by George Bernstein in about 1974 looking back at a Republican picnic in either 1968 or 1970 at which a deal was made between then House Minority Leader Gerald Ford and Liddy to make sure Liddy did not campaign actively on the Conservative line against Ham Fish Jr. The deal allowed Liddy to secure a Treasury Department job that led to him forming the plumbers unit with Hunt. It’s a cool tale. It’s in the clips there back in the morgue (if you still have one). I was sitting next to George when he interviewed county Republican Chair George Reid, his primary source for the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John:
    The aforementioned Republican picnic was in the summer of 1968 (see my earlier comment). I can’t recall precisely when George Bernstein wrote the article I described in my earlier comment, but I believe it was a short time after Nixon resigned in the summer of 1974. It may have been later that fall or the following spring.

    Liked by 1 person

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