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HBO movie on Clarence Thomas hearings ‘distorted’

Actress Kerry Washington attended a screening of HBO's "Confirmation" at the Sundance Film Festival.

Getty Images for HBO

Actress Kerry Washington attended a screening of HBO's "Confirmation" at the Sundance Film Festival.

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It doesn’t air for several weeks, but “Confirmation,” HBO’s much-anticipated movie about the 1991 confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is already drawing criticism from some of the folks involved in the real-life drama. The movie, focused on the allegations of sexual harassment made by Thomas’s onetime colleague Anita Hill, debuts April 16. (Hill, who teaches at Brandeis, is played in the film by actress Kerry Washington.) In an interview with Politico, former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) called the script — at least the one he saw — “seriously distorted” and suggested legal action is a possibility. “I don’t know what I’ll do but it won’t be fun and games,” Simpson said. “I won’t just sit still. I’ll have a response, I always have. An attack unanswered is an attack believed.” He’s not alone. Mark Paoletta, a former White House lawyer who worked on Thomas’s confirmation, told Politico: “Based on the script I reviewed, it’s a dishonest film. . . . It’s a propaganda piece for Anita Hill and for Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House.” In response, Len Amato, president of HBO Films, said, “There’s no agenda. There’s no slanting of it. Basically, people are talking about something they haven’t seen and when you see the film, you’ll see it’s quite evenhanded.” “Confirmation” costars Wendell Pierce as Thomas, Jeffrey Wright as Harvard prof Charles Ogletree, Treat Williams as Ted Kennedy, and Greg Kinnear as Joe Biden. The screenplay was written by Susannah Grant, whose credits include “Erin Brockovich.”

Anita Hil testified during the 1991 confirmation hearings.

Associated Press/File

Anita Hil testified during the 1991 confirmation hearings.

Names can be reached at names@globe.com. Follow Mark Shanahan on Twitter @MarkAShanahan.
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