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Trivia / W.

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  • Dawson Casting: Both played straight and inverted by the same actors. At the time of filming, the cast consisted of 40-year old Josh Brolin playing Bush in college and during the presidency, 34-year old Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, 35-year old Thandiwe Newton as Condoleezza Rice and 42-year old Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell. The only major actors somewhat close to the age of their characters are James Cromwell as Bush Sr. and Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney.
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  • Deleted Scene: Michael Shannon had a scene as the preacher who converted Bush to evangelical Christianity that was deleted in the final cut.
  • Doing It for the Art: Both Oliver Stone and Josh Brolin turned down their salaries for the movie (which was understandably difficult to find financing for), and the movie still ended up having to be made for $5 million less than what was originally projected.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Josh Brolin lost about 20 pounds in order to better play Bush as a college student, and then had to gain it all back in order to play him in Middle Age.
  • Fake American: English Toby Jones ably reproduces Karl Rove's Colorado accent, while English Thandiwe Newton makes an effective, if broadly-drawn, Condoleeza Rice.
  • Hostility on the Set: Richard Dreyfuss and Oliver Stone didn't get on. Dreyfuss labeled Stone a fascist, while Stone said that working with Dreyfuss was the worst experience he'd ever had with an actor.
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  • The Other Marty: Christian Bale was supposed to play Bush, and even had makeup tests done, but dropped out at the last minute, saying he was afraid he wouldn't be able to accurately play the President.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The portrayal of Jeb Bush as the competent brother that makes W. feel inadequate seems rather odd after his failed 2016 presidential campaign seriously hurt Jeb's public image.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Robert Duvall was offered the role of Dick Cheney.
    • Harrison Ford and Warren Beatty were offered the role of George Bush Sr.
    • During the editing process, there was said to be up to five different cuts of the film, each with a different tone, with some being more satiric, others darker, etc.