Book: Steven Spielberg Failed to Help Hillary Appear ‘More Golda Than Maggie’
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton asked his friend, movie-maker Steven Spielberg, for help with his wife Hillary’s image, journalist Edward Klein reveals in his new book, Unlikeable, according to the New York Post on Sunday.
The idea was to try and make the Democratic presidential hopeful more likable, a suggestion she did not appreciate at first.
The book describes how, one night over drinks with friends, Bill Clinton turned to his wife and said, “Let’s ask Steven for help.” His reasoning was that the famed director could provide Hillary with acting coaches to help improve her performance when addressing audiences.
Hillary is purported to have responded huffily, “I get $250,000 to give a speech and these Hollywood jackasses are going to tell me how to do it!”
“Your policies and talking points are solid,” Bill told Hillary. “Now the challenge is to repackage you in 2016 as a strong but lovable older woman — more Golda than Maggie,” referring to former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
In spite of her initial objections, Hillary accepted Spielberg’s help. She started with making recordings via a video camera installed in her Washington, D.C. home. After each recording session, she watched the tape and took notes. Klein said, “She scrutinized her facial expressions, her hand gestures, the pitch of her voice and her use of eye contact.” For comparison, she also viewed videos of speeches she had already given while on the road.
From the collection of tapes, she selected the ones she liked and sent them to Spielberg’s office for feedback. When the Hollywood coaches sent back their critiques, they noted that she looked “irritated and bored,” Klein wrote.
While Hillary thought it was worthwhile to work on her facial expressions, most of the time she merely glanced at the printouts of constructive criticism — which she referred to as “notes from La-La Land” — before throwing them away.
“Sometimes they’re helpful,” she told her friends. “But just as often they’re full of s- –.”
According to Klein, a couple of weeks after she began her coaching sessions, Hillary invited some girlfriends to her house for “speech practice.” According to one woman who attended the gathering, Hillary said, “My coaches tell me I’m supposed to pretend when I speak. Pretend that I actually like the audience.”
“I’m supposed to force myself to keep a smile on my face. I’m supposed to think happy thoughts,” Hillary added. “To think of Chelsea [her daughter] or Charlotte [her granddaughter] or my [late] mother. But not about Bill, because even though I love him to death, he makes me tear my hair out.”
Spielberg’s “likability lessons” were among the first casualties of Hillary’s presidential campaign, Klein wrote. Everyone agreed they were not working and eventually Hillary quit taking them.
“I decided I had enough with the camera and the recordings and the coaches,” she told a friend. “I got so angry I knocked the f- –ing camera off its tripod. That was the end of my Stanislavski period.”