Two Clinton Supporters Play the Reagans

Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon are the leads in 'Killing Reagan'

Cynthia Nixon plays Nancy Reagan in the film adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Reagan." (Courtesy National Geographic Channel)
Cynthia Nixon plays Nancy Reagan in the film adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Reagan." (Courtesy National Geographic Channel)
Posted October 7, 2016 at 12:11pm

The stars of Bill O’Reilly’s book-turned-movie, “Killing Reagan,” which premiered in Washington on Thursday, are both Hillary Clinton supporters.

Tim Matheson, who is famous for playing Vice President John Hoynes on NBC’s “The West Wing,” and Cynthia Nixon, best known for playing Miranda Hobbes on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” play Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the National Geographic Channel TV movie.

The two leads’ political leanings didn’t affect the Fox News’ talk show host’s review of their performances.

“The performances of the two principals — Matheson and Nixon — I just think it’s lights out. After you start watching the movie, then you really think you’re watching Ronnie and Nancy,” O’Reilly told Roll Call. “They get lost in the character. That’s what impressed me the most.”

The movie charts the events that led to the attempted assassination of Reagan on March 30, 1981. O’Reilly and the actors were at the red carpet event at the Newseum on Thursday.

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From the fictional Hoynes to Reagan, Matheson told Roll Call he loves playing politicians.

“I think it’s our version of Shakespeare’s histories,” he said. “It’s our royal family, it’s our tragedies. It’s those dramas that the audience craves for, just look behind the curtain and think, ‘What’s going on in the West Wing? What’s going on in the Oval Office?’”

In an August interview with USA Today, the actor called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump “a greedy, venal businessman who has never done anything for anyone.” That same month, Matheson declared his support for Clinton on Twitter. 

In May 2015, Nixon came out for Clinton. “I’m very supportive of her. I was an Obama person in 2008 but I’m definitely a Hillary person now. It’s hard to tell yet but I will be out there in support of her,” she said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Both actors said they liked researching the Reagans and learned things about the couple they hadn’t known before.

Matheson said he learned about the late president’s humility and humor.

“How humble and shy he was. He’s an Irishman, he always had a joke,” he said. “When he would meet somebody — a group of women from the Midwest — he had a joke especially for them. About family or something. Just to relax them and so they weren’t just in awe of him. He made people feel comfortable around him which I think was a great strength. He relaxed people.”

Nixon said she learned about the first lady’s ongoing effort to be perfect.

“I think I learned about the early part of her childhood and how she was abandoned by both of her parents at such an early age and how she felt unloved and unlovable,” she said. “And that’s why she worked so hard to shine herself up and be perfect, perfect, perfect. And that’s why any little imperfection in herself or her home kind of shook her to the core and she was always striving for perfection because she felt such a woefully imperfect person.”

So who’s the next politician, fictional or nonfictional, that Matheson will play?

“After seeing ‘Hamilton’ the other night, I would like to put a white wig on and look into the past a little bit,” he said. “They’re great roles, they’re our Shakespeare. They’re our history and they’re very challenging parts. Hamilton, Jefferson.”

As for Nixon? “I’d love to play Hillary, that would be great!”