Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watch a trailer for HBO and David Simon's take on Philip Roth's The Plot Against America

Illustration for article titled Watch a trailer for HBO and David Simons take on Philip Roths iThe Plot Against America/i
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Hot off the heels of The Deuce’s final season comes the first teaser for David Simon’s next HBO series, The Plot Against America, a six-episode adaptation of Philip Roth’s fiery 2004 novel. Set in an alternate universe where Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator and non-interventionist many suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer, defeated Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential race, it explores how country’s slow drift towards fascism dovetails with a swift rise in antisemitism.

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John Turturro stars as Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf, who remains a key ally of Lindbergh’s despite the candidate’s history of anti-semitic sentiment. Winona Ryder and Zoe Kazan, meanwhile, play sisters being pulled to different sides of the political divide. Homeland’s Morgan Spector helps round out the cast, as do Simon veterans David Krumholtz and Michael Kostroff.

It’s easy to see the timeliness of the material, but Simon recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how Roth urged him not to “confuse Trump for Lindbergh.” As Simon explained, “[Lindbergh] was an astounding hero and an astonishing American icon after the flight… He had the power that Trump as a reality show host and failed casino owner did not have. And yet Trump was able to market what he did have. He wanted me to be wary of making him Trumpist.”

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He did, however, add that Lindbergh and Trump were similar in some ways. “They’re the same in terms of the demagogic underpinnings of their power, what they promise in the most simplistic terms possible, and how susceptible people are to those kinds of promises…and also in the demonization of the other,” he said. “Imagine if Trump were not as flawed a creature as he is. Imagine the damage that could be done if this guy had the charisma and capacity of even a Lindbergh. It’s scary.”

The Plot Against America, which Simon is helming alongside The Wire alum Ed Burns, premieres on HBO on March 16.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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