The Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” is better known as “Deep Throat.” His leaking of FBI secrets led to Richard Nixon’s resignation. Here, director Peter Landesman discusses his new film about Watergate.
How is this different from so many other spy stories?
The idea that he runs the organization whose job it is to find out who’s leaking — and it’s him. Imagine a bank robber that’s the chief of police.
Why does he leak to the press?
He’s faced with the unthinkable option of betraying the FBI in order to allow the FBI to do its job, which is just to finish the police investigation. He knows it’s leading to the Oval Office; that’s neither his problem, nor his agenda. All he wants is to finish the job.
And he paid a high price for it.
He betrayed everybody and everything in order to do his job. His wife committed suicide, and he knew that part of her anguish was the disgrace in which he was forced to resign. That disgrace all came from his betrayal of the FBI to allow the FBI to do its job. It’s an enormous act of heroism and tragedy all at once.