WASHINGTON – Members of the “1600 Penn” cast including actor Bill Pullman, actress Jenna Elfman and former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett took questions about the new NBC sitcom at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Jenna Elfman praised First Lady Michelle Obama during the panel discussion as the inspiration for her role in the series.
“I love what Michelle Obama has done for the position of First Lady because she brings energy and participation and presence and health and pride of your own self as a woman and fitness and just, and also being a mother and a wife who’s supportive and cognizant of what’s going on with her husband,” said Elfman, who plays Emily Nash Gilchrest on “1600 Penn,” which officially premieres on Thursday.
“So, I certainly was inspired of that and also I’m on a TV show in our contemporary world today and she is our first lady and so I definitely didn’t want to ignore that and I also felt liberated by that because I feel youthful and I wanted to bring youthfulness to the position.”
Bill Pullman, who plays President Dale Gilchrest, was asked if he would consider leaving Hollywood and running for office like former President Ronald Reagan.
“He [Reagan] was known as the great communicator, I would be known as the great dislocater or something like that,” Pullman said.
“I don’t have the leadership instincts or GPS that he had.”
Jon Lovett, one of the show’s producers, left the White House for Hollywood in September 2011 after working as one of President Obama’s speechwriters. Lovett was asked if he incorporated any of his favorite stories from his time in the West Wing into the show.
“I was a speechwriter and so most of my experiences were over in the West Wing and my favorite stories are ones that I will not tell any of you,” said Lovett.
“This show is about what happens after the speeches and it’s what happens when the cameras are off and you know it’s, they’re a family in this world but for me it’s that scrutiny and that attention and that strange fishbowl that I think makes working at the White House unique and is what hopefully will make these family dynamics unique.”
The cast was interviewed by NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager at the National Press Club following the event. They were also scheduled to attend a screening at the White House hosted by President Obama.