“Political Animals,” are the similarities characters have to the real stars of American politics. In Elaine Barrish Hammond, coming off a failed presidential run to a younger candidate and asked to serve as secretary of state, you see Hillary Clinton. Creator Greg Berlanti has made it no secret that he based Sigourney Weaver’s character on a combination of Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. Doug Hammond, Elaine’s other son, serves as her chief of staff and has clear ambitions of his own, revealing shades of a young Bobby Kennedy.
Doug Hammond is played by actor Jimmy Wolk, who tells ABC News that it’s thrilling to be part of a show touching on issues that are relevant today.
“Our country has an immense obsession with politics and celebrity,” says Wolk. “Politicians are celebrities, whether they want to be or not. And the show touches on the duplicity of their lives. Characters appear to be perfect, but they all have weaknesses that are exposed.”
We rarely see what goes on behind the closed doors of our biggest political players and “Political Animals” thrives on diving into real issues like drug addiction, alcoholism, and infidelity – all things families like the Kennedys, Clintons, and Bushs have dealt with.
“Although the similarities to modern political culture are overwhelming at times, the fictional characters take on their own lives,” says Wolk.
That’s what makes political dramas so entertaining. You’re drawn in by the similarities to the beltway, but hooked by the real challenges of balancing public and private life.
Some may be taken aback by the language and aggressive nature of Elaine Barrish-Hammond and Kristina Ryan. But, nobody became successful in politics by being passive and the shows pride themselves on trying to tell it like it is.
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