Home » Finally WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS is In Sight


by Jef Dinsmore
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Man, has this been a long wait, or what? The five-part limited series WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS has finally released the premiere date of MONDAY, MAY 01, 2023. I mean, I announced the team-up of the two leads, Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, way back in December 2019. In March of 2021, we mentioned the production again, just so we wouldn’t forget about it. Finally, we can now say, even though there was some doubt that it would ever come to fruition, that the series has locked in its debut.  

One of the big political & criminal snafus of the 1970s is the focus which makes it a timely piece right about now with former POTUS Trump getting indicted. It is a hot mess right now and it was back then too. As we approach the debut of the David Mandel-directed work, we remind you of what it is all about – WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS takes the audience behind-the-scenes of the Watergate scandal as Nixon’s political saboteurs, E. Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Theroux), accidentally topple the presidency they were zealously trying to protect… and their families along with it. Chronicling actions on the ground, this satirical drama begins in 1971 when the White House hires Hunt and Liddy, former CIA and FBI, respectively, to investigate the Pentagon Papers leak. After failing upward, the unlikely pair lands on the Committee to Re-Elect the President, plotting several unbelievable covert ops – including bugging the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex. Proving that history can sometimes be stranger than fiction, WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS sheds light on the lesser-known series of events that led to one of America’s greatest political crimes.  

Also in front of the camera and also behind it are Lena Headey (Dorothy Hunt), Judy Greer (Fran Liddy), Domhnall Gleeson (John Dean), Toby Huss (James McCord), Ike Barinholtz (Jeb Magruder), Kathleen Turner (Dita Beard), Kim Coates (Frank Sturgis), Yul Vazquez (Bernard “Macho” Barker), Alexis Valdés (Felipe De Diego), Nelson Ascencio (Virgilio “Villo” Gonzalez), Tony Plana (Eugenio “Muscolito” Martinez), Zoe Levin (Lisa Hunt), Liam James (Saint John WhiteHousePlumbers_ComingSoon-300x153Hunt), Kiernan Shipka (Kevan Hunt), Tre Ryder (David Hunt), David Krumholtz (William O. Bittman), F. Murray Abraham (Judge Sirica), Rich Sommer (Egil “Bud” Krogh), and John Carroll Lynch (John Mitchell). Directed and executive produced by David Mandel; created, written and executive produced by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck; executive produced by Frank Rich, David Bernad, Gregg Fienberg, Justin Theroux, Woody Harrelson, Len Amato, and Ruben Fleischer. An HBO co-production with wiip with executive producers Paul Lee, Mark Roybal and Nne Ebong.

All those creative talents listed above, and more, have finally brought the 1970s and the Watergate Scandal to life again, complete with a satirical punch. Director David Mandel stated,” In most of the Watergate movies ever made, basically the burglary is the opening scene.” You see flashes of the burglary, and People_DavidMandelthen it’s people in the Oval Office, [President Richard] Nixon, and the reporters at the Washington Post. This is a limited series where it is 100 percent about the burglary. We’re going to meet these guys before the burglary, and we’re going to see the effects of the burglary on their lives. This is the story that none of these other [stories] bothered with, to some extent.”  He goes on to say, “I guess what I like to say is, ‘It’s a drama, but it’s really funny.’” We definitely walk a really fine line. This show doesn’t have jokes. There’s no jokes. However, there’s a lot of funny stuff because [that’s how it] happened. That’s the easiest way I can express it. The burglary attempts were so incompetent; you have to laugh. […] Their actions, their mistakes, but also their giant character flaws.” 

So, what was the big cause for the delay? Initially, we thought it was pandemic illness because production was inactive all of 2020 and into 2021., but the writing of the screenplay might not have been quite ready to get before cameras then. It finally did so in the Spring of ‘21. The series began principal photography on May 3, 2021, and ended on October 21, 2021. Filming took place in Poughkeepsie, New York, New York City, Albany, New York, Washington, D.C., Charlotte Amalie in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Beverly Hills, California, and Redondo Beach, California. There was a bit of a heated kerfuffle reported that caused Human Resources to step in. It was noted that director Mandel had a shouting match with the Prop Department which called him out for harassment. Now, that could have been a huge detriment to the production because a show set 50 years ago would require quite a bit of period set pieces, some or many handled by the prop team. That issue, however, only cost a week of downtime; all parties reported back to work. WhiteHousePlumbers_TitleCard-300x146

So, was it the fact it was a detailed period piece shot in multiple locations that made us wait so long? Really, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m just glad it’s finally on the calendar. It is VEEP, which the writers Gregory & Huyck and Mandel all worked on, minus the intentional jokes. It is a historic, comedic blunder in the political arena before the current fiasco we face. It is WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS, and it should be on your watchlist this May!  

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