PopPolitics: Nick Nolte, Joshua Michael Stern on What ‘Graves’ Says About 2016’s Crazy Politics (Listen)

Ted Johnson

Nick Nolte, who stars in the new Epix series “Graves,” met Donald Trump once. It was in the 1990s, and Nolte and his wife ran into Trump and his then-wife Marla Maples in a park in New York — and they argued about hair.

“He was on me about my hair. I had long blonde hair,” Nolte tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “He thought my hair was too baby-fine, and I said something but like, ‘Not coarse and red like your bristle,’ and then we argued back and forth.”

“Graves” premieres on Sunday right in the thick of this most unusual election campaign, and it may be the perfect counter to the idea that the next commander-in-chief needs to be a superhero to solve all problems: Nolte plays an ex-president, Richard Graves, who has regret, and starts to rethink and speak out about some of his past rightward positions on issues like immigration. Sela Ward plays his wife, Margaret.

Joshua Michael Stern, the series creator, says that the character is a “composite — a little bit of LBJ. A little bit of Reagan. A little bit of Bush. A little bit of Clinton. “I think he became more of this amalgamation of a lot of ex-presidents, and more representative of what an ex-president was and what an ex-president becomes,” he said.

He added that what intrigued him was the idea of how the leader of the free world copes with life after the White House, when they no longer have the same power at their fingertips and are assigned to lives of paid speeches and fundraising. But they are also watching how their legacy is playing out in the world — and not always happy about it.

Nolte said that the show also reflects what happens when you become famous. “Your life kind of ceases in a way.”

In the debut, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani make cameos. Nolte said that Giuliani told him back when the pilot was shot last year, that he would support Trump.

“I don’t know quite what to make of this election,” Nolte said. “I think it is a very important one. It’s just I don’t think I have ever seen these kind of circumstances. So I hope the show adds some kind of relief to that kind of thing.”

Listen below:

How He Got ‘The Apprentice’ Editor’s Story

A.J. Catoline, a producer and editor, talks about how he got the story about editors who worked on “The Apprentice,” in which some of those who worked on the show talked about what offensive footage may exist in show outtakes. The story was published in CineMontage, the journal of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, last week. Among other things, Caroline writes that some of the editors working on the first season of “The Apprentice” thought that the show was a comedy because Trump was so over the top.

Listen below:

Attack on Journalists

Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail and Alexander Heffner of “The Open Mind” on PBS talk about the increasingly hostile environment for media covering the Trump campaign — whether it be openly expressed by his supporters at rallies or via the latest threats by Trump’s attorneys to sue publications.

Listen below:

Hillary and Hollywood

As Hillary Clinton makes her final fundraising swing through Los Angeles, one of the campaign bundlers, David Wolf, talks about donors’ hopes for the remaining weeks of the campaign.

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays from 11-noon PT/2-3 pm ET on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

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