FILM FANS ELECT THEIR FAVOURITE ON-SCREEN LEADER
Martin Sheen’s portrayal of US President Josiah Bartlett in television drama The West Wing has been voted the fictional head of state people would most like to see take over from David Cameron to run Britain.
To celebrate the release of The Iron Lady which sees Meryl Streep playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, LOVEFiLM – Europe’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the internet and sending DVDs by post – asked over 1,500 film and TV fans to identify the on-screen political leader they would elect. The White House’s corridors of power proved irresistible with Martin Sheen’s fictional imagining of the US President securing 18 per cent of the vote.
It appears that the glamour and power of the White House is an attractive mix. Five fictional Presidents took the five top spots – Tom Beck played by Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact and Harrison Ford’s James Marshall (Air Force One) secured second and third place with 16 and 12 per cent of the votes respectively.
Hot on their heels was President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) whose strength during an alien invasion in Independence Day saw him achieve fourth place (11 per cent), followed by President David Palmer played by Dennis Haysbert in real-time serial drama 24 in fifth (nine per cent).
From real-time to cartoon-time, who could have predicted that Arnold Schwarzenegger would make the transition from Governor of California to the White House so quickly? He may not have voiced the actual character in The Simpsons Movie but President Schwarzenegger is joint sixth alongside iconic British actor Peter Sellers for his role as President Merkin Muffley in black comedy Dr Strangelove – both with seven per cent.
From Martians to magic next as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge assumes joint ninth place (two per cent). Fudge was played by octogenarian British actor Robert Hardy in the first four Harry Potter films but his character was written out as part of a storyline which saw him deny that Lord Voldemort had returned to power.
Fudge shares ninth place with legendary American actor Michael Douglas whose Oval Office provides the backdrop for a touching love affair between his President Andrew Shepherd and Annette Bening’s lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade in romantic comedy The American President.
Unsurprisingly it is another imaginary American leader who completes the top ten. This time it is President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover) whose administration is faced with the end of the world in 2012. Perhaps his failure to prevent the end of mankind is why he only just scraped in with one per cent of the vote.
The Top Ten Leaders
1. President Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen) – West Wing (18 per cent)
2. President Tom Beck (Morgan Freeman) – Deep Impact (16 per cent)
3. President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) – Air Force One (12 per cent)
4. President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) – Independence Day (11 per cent)
5. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) – 24 (nine per cent)
6. President Schwarzenegger (voice by Mark Moseley) – The Simpsons Movie (seven per cent)
=6. President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) – Dr Strangelove (seven per cent)
7. High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) – V for Vendetta (six per cent)
8. President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) – Mars Attacks (five per cent)
9. Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge (Robert Hardy) – Harry Potter (two per cent)
=9. President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) – The American President (two per cent)
10. President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover) – 2012 (one per cent)
Other – Six per cent
Helen Cowley, Editor of LOVEFiLM, commented:
“From Presidents to Prime Ministers, countless charismatic political leaders have graced our screens all with varying degrees of success. The release of a movie about one of the most famous British Prime Ministers of all time prompted us to ask LOVEFiLM members which fictional leader they would like to see at 10 Downing Street. For Martin Sheen’s long-serving President Bartlett to come out on top is proof that all that walking and talking is key to popular appeal!
“Film fans can enjoy watching their favourite leaders cope with the end of the world, see off an alien invasion, do battle with the most powerful wizard and even avoid being assassinated with LOVEFiLM which has some of the best political movies and TV series of all time available on DVD, Blu-ray or to stream instantly via LOVEFiLM Instant.”