Dylan McDermott has played a Secret Service agent before his turn as one in the recent release Olympus Has Fallen. “I had done a Secret Service movie years ago, In the Line of Fire with Clint Eastwood, so I had done a lot of research then. They brought me on detail with Hillary Clinton protecting her,” McDermott said in our exclusive interview.
“They let me trail them and be with them and that was amazing. I learned a lot there. By the time I got to this movie, I had done the research already.”
McDermott didn’t mind going back to the force that protects the president for director Antoine Fuqua and his -- as we called it in our Olympus Has Fallen review -- “Die Hard in the White House” thrill-fest.
Movie Fanatic caught up with McDermott where the veteran actor talked about what it is about our movie presidents that continues to enthrall audiences and he even chimes in about his favorite cinematic Commander in Chief.
Movie Fanatic: Whether in In the Line of Fire or your work teased in the Olympus Has Fallen trailer, what most surprised you about what those guys do for a living?
Dylan McDermott: It’s fascinating to me how someone could take a bullet for someone. I’m not sure I could do that for anyone -- well, my loved ones sure. The ability for them to lay down their life for a political figure, I think is a tremendous duty they undertake.
Movie Fanatic: Antoine is such a visionary, what most impressed you about him?
Dylan McDermott: Antoine and I just got along like gangbusters. There are so few directors out there that speak the same language. I would write a few pieces of dialogue for me in the movie, and that was such a thrill to write something and all of a sudden, it’s in the movie. He gets me, and not everyone gets everyone. But, for some reason, he got me. Between Training Day and this, I think he’s got his signature all over it.
Movie Fanatic: Movie presidents are like their own thing. What is it about movies that have our president in them that audiences love?
Dylan McDermott: I think it’s a fascinating job that no one really wants. It’s fascinating to watch on film because I think we’re all interested in what happens and what it is like. We elevate these people and they’re human beings. Many make mistakes and trip up and we want them to be exalted, but we’re living in a time now where everyone is brought down to earth. We used to live in a time when the movie star was up on screen and you would know nothing about them. Now, those days are over. There’s too much information on everybody.
Movie Fanatic: Have a favorite movie president?
Dylan McDermott: I thought Aaron (Eckhart) did a great job (in Olympus Has Fallen). But, I really liked Kevin Kline in Dave. They’re all so different.
Movie Fanatic: The Secret Service agent who consulted on the film has said he understands the film is pure entertainment, but he hopes that it wakes Washington up. What are your hopes for Olympus Has Fallen?
Dylan McDermott: I think it’s a little more than a basic thriller. We’re playing with people’s fears of terrorism. After 9/11, we’re keenly aware that it’s always present. We’re tapping into that in this movie in that what’s the worst thing that could happen in the United States would be for the White House to be taken over by terrorists. We’re walking a line of fantasy and reality and I think that’s why the movie works. I think that’s what separates it from other action movies.
Movie Fanatic: Lastly, you just finished filming Mercy. What does it mean to you be in a Stephen King-based story? It’s almost like a genre all its own.
Dylan McDermott: Yeah, it is [laughs]. He’s the best -- what he does, his imagination, his ideas. This was a short story based on a story called Grandma. It was fun. I think any time you get to do his stuff… it’s great fun.