1. IT BEGAN AS A ROBERT REDFORD VEHICLE.
Though the film ultimately starred Michael Douglas, it started as a vehicle for another of Hollywood’s great leading men: Robert Redford. So, what happened? Well, Redford was reportedly more interested in the film’s love story, while director Rob Reiner was leaning more toward the political subplots. So the two parted ways, and the part of President Shepherd ultimately landed with Douglas.
2. ANNETTE BENING WAS NOT THE FIRST CHOICE FOR THE LOVE INTEREST.
Just as the film began as a project that would star Robert Redford, so too did it originally feature other leading ladies. Redford himself had hoped to land Emma Thompson for the role of lobbyist-turned-President’s girlfriend Sydney Ellen Wade. Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer were also considered for the meaty role, and by the time Douglas came onboard Jessica Lange was also up for the part. Ultimately, Bening won it.
11. MANY CAST MEMBERS ULTIMATELY ENDED UP ON THE WEST WING.
The American President wasn’t just a template for The West Wing in terms of theme; it also featured a number of actors who would ultimately play key roles in the series. Martin Sheen,The American President’s A.J. MacInerney, went on to play the President himself, Josiah Bartlet, on The West Wing. Anna Deavere Smith eventually played The West Wing’s National Security Advisor Nancy McNally while Joshua Malina went on to play Communications Director-turned-Congressman Will Bailey. The list goes on.