Presidential scandals are forever a subject of great interest to the American public. And king of them all is Watergate. Though Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 stroke, secretly opening the door for First Lady Edith Wilson to run the country, is quite juicy. No matter how much compelling untapped historical content is out there, it’s the Nixon White House that storytellers keep coming back to. And, according to Variety, it’s happening again with The White House Plumbers.
HBO will be producing the limited five-episode series, and this one stars Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, not as Woodward and Bernstein, but E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, respectively. The pair will also executive produce.
Said Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming:
“We’re excited to bring together such a talented team to take on this fascinating look at the internal machinations that brought down the Nixon White House. We’re especially happy to welcome both Woody and Justin back to HBO and are looking forward to getting started.”
The true story will center on how the two impassioned Watergate masterminds doomed the presidency entirely by accident. It’s based, in part, on the book Integrity, by Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh.
The series comes from Veep writers/executive producers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, who are creating and executive producing. David Mandel, Veep’s showrunner, will direct all five episodes and also executive produce.
With those minds, will this thing have the makings of a Watergate comedy? It might, though it wouldn’t be the first. The quite silly 1999 Dan Hedeya-starrer, Dick, purported that a pair of teenage dog walkers played by Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst were primarily responsible for Nixon’s downfall. Even if there are laughs in this one, it will likely be different in tone.
Though there’s much to mine in our nation’s presidential/VP drama—the Hamilton/Burr affairs, the Iran Contra mess, McKinley’s assassination—a new take on Watergate may still be a welcome one. And with Harrelson and Theroux, whose best work has been seen on HBO (True Detective, The Leftovers), this thing could be another buzz-worthy project.