Jake Gyllenhaal as Senator Bailey Atwater
Melissa Fumero as Congresswoman Jasmine Lopez Diaz
Laura Linney as President Maxine Wareheim
Jeremy Strong as Jeremy Sussbaum
Rainn Wilson as Nate Silver
Kyle Chandler as Sean Hannity
Neil Patrick Harris as Anderson Cooper
and Kid Rock as Himself
Estimated Budget: $86,000,000
Estimated Box Office: $210,000,000 (Domestic), $45,000,000 (International)
Bailey Atwater (Jake Gyllenhaal) was the future of the Republican party.
With the natural good looks of a born leader and the ability to dismantle his political opponents with obscure data points and an endless stream of analogies (“raising the minimum wage is like giving everyone a participation ribbon… If everyone wins, what’s the incentive to even compete?”), the first term Senator from Missouri was (not so secretly) considered the GOP’s best hope for taking back the White House from the liberal (female) President, Maxine Wareheim (Laura Linney).
Days away from announcing his formal candidacy for the presidency, Atwater was due to face off against the rising Democratic communist Congresswoman, Jasmine Lopez Diaz (Melissa Fumero) (known as “JLD” to her supporters) in a nationally televised debate over gun rights. In the debate, hosted by Anderson Cooper (Neil Patrick Harris), Atwater quickly goes on the attack, pulling out data points (“65% of Americans said they don’t feel safe in their own homes!”), reminders of the constitution (“There’s a little thing called the 2nd amendment. It may not mean much to my opponent but I go to sleep every night reading it!”), and analogy after analogy (“Would my opponent take away those vaccines she keeps forcing down America’s veins? No? Then why would she want to take our guns, which also protect us from harm!”). The effect is devastating and inarguable: Bailey Atwater walks away with the debate victory over a severely chastened JLD.
Riding high after the debate, Atwater’s campaign manager, Jeremy Sussbaum (Jeremy Strong) tells the candidate that he’s currently holding an eight-point lead over President Wareheim in the new presidential election poll published by Nate Silver (Rainn Wilson). Sussbaum has set up a press conference for the following day so that Atwater can finally announce that he is running for President. All Atwater has left to do that night is film a post-debate “victory lap” interview on Fox News.
Standing in his debate dressing room, Baily Atwater is mic’d up and ready to go for his interview with Sean Hannity (Kyle Chandler). The broadcast goes live. All is well. Hannity pitches softball after softball, which Atwater handles with charming humor and ease. As the two men continue the interview, we fade out…
The next morning, Atwater awakes to 57 messages on his phone. He quickly logs on to Twitter to see what breaking news he apparently missed. On Twitter, Atwater quickly scrolls through and sees the #1 trending topic in the world: #AtwaterFarted.
Atwater’s phone rings. It’s Sussbaum. Atwater answers and hears panic in his campaign manager’s voice: “Did you do it!?”. “Do What?”, a confused Atwater asks. “DID YOU RIP A BEEF ON LIVE TV DURING YOUR HANNITY INTERVIEW!”.
Atwater is stunned. He watches the replay of last night’s interview and sure enough, at the 3:22 mark there is the unmistakable sound of a loud, wet fart. And the entire world is now convinced that it was Atwater who did it. Presidential candidacies have been ended for less…
Atwater quickly types out a tweet, meant to show a sense of humor over the situation: “Woke up to find out I’m the big topic of conversation. Not sure what that sound was but rest assured, I did not fart. Now I’m off to have breakfast… I think I’ll lay off the beans just to be safe.”
But the tweet doesn’t derail the oncoming train. Soon, internet sleuths are creating zapruder-film analyses of the interview to determine if it was Atwater’s gas pass or not. Discussion rages everywhere, from Reddit to Twitter to Facebook. What was supposed to be a day of triumph for Atwater quickly becomes a quagmire of farts.
Sussbaum tells Atwater he must take more action and quickly arranges for an interview with Anderson Cooper. On air, Cooper offers up a juicy lob and Atwater handles it well: “It wasn’t me Anderson. You can ask any of my friends, I never deny it when I supply it.” Mid-interview, with things going well, Atwater and his team begin to believe the whole fart-gate may blow over. But then, Anderson tells Senator Atwater that there is some BREAKING NEWS they need to cut away to… Every channel in the nation cuts to Congresswoman Diaz who stands stoically in front of a lectern.:
JLD proceeds to tell the entire world that she has DEFINTIIVE PROOF the fart was actually produced by Bailey Atwater. She goes on to state that the evidence will be released the moment Atwater declares his candidacy for the presidency. JLD ends her speech with a line soon to be repeated throughout America: “It was him and he lied about it. And if he lied about a fart, what else is he lying about? The fart is the heart… of the matter”
Sussbaum pulls Atwater aside. “I need you to be honest with me right now. Was the fart you?” Atwater once again denies it, but for the first time, the response feels less than fully transparent. Sussbaum walks away concerned.
“The Fart” as it comes to be called, is soon a national scandal threatening to derail not only Atwater’s presidential hopes, but his career in politics.
As Atwater fights constant attacks from JLD, more and more secrets from his past emerge, until Americans everywhere are asking one question: Can we really trust this guy? Soon, Atwater’s political life comes down to a second question: Can he prove the fart wasn’t him? … But increasingly his supporters are asking a third question: “What if it was?”
The Fart is a political thriller that will have you guessing until the very end as Bailey Atwater goes from Golden Boy to Possibly Unreliable Narrator. As the stakes continue to rise and accusations are lobbed from every direction, audiences will be glued to their seats wondering: ‘Did he fart? And does it even matter?’ The Fart is a movie idea that exposes the rotten heart at the center of our national political apparatus, examining how the truth is whatever people believe it is. So, take a WHIFF of The Fart, a cinematic examination of the times we live in and the national scars that still need to heal.
Exclusive Scene from the Script: