It’s a slice of American history that put a lot of people on blast. These were people we’d never heard of and they held a nation captive for nearly a year.
The true story of what went down between attorneys Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas may never be told—not even in HBO’s Confirmation, an entertaining replay of that she-said, he-said drama regarding inappropriate conduct in the workplace. Hill asserted that Thomas had routinely sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the U.S. Dept. of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Kerry Washington, in a welcome departure from Olivia Pope, the character that made her a household name on ABC’s Scandal, may miss some of Hill’s nuances while portraying her, but nonetheless does a decent job. Unfortunately for Washington, we’ve become way too accustomed to seeing her “fix” things in haute couture to fully accept her in Hill’s far less dazzling wardrobe on Capitol Hill.
Wendell Pierce, the HBO alum from Treme, plays Thomas. He makes him seem almost human, which is not the perception we got by watching him at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991.
Since then, a whole generation has grown up probably knowing very little about this pioneering reality show featuring future Vice President Joe Biden (Greg Kinnear), the late Ted Kennedy and George H. Bush, the man who handpicked the ultra conservative Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice appointed to the Court.
Washington, also the executive producer of Confirmation, spent some time talking with the reclusive Hill, now a tenured professor at Brandeis University. Keeping the details of their personal lives private is something Washington and Hill have in common.
“She is very private,” Washington told the nation’s TV critics at a press conference in January. “It’s one of the things, when Wendell was talking about things that I have in common. I felt that was something that she and I shared, that idea of the circumstances of your life thrust into the public eye, when it’s not necessarily your choice. That was something that we really were able to bond on.
“And, yes, I was very I was terrified. Yeah. You know, portraying somebody who’s real is a different kind of responsibility, especially when they’re alive. So that significance was not lost on me, both as an actor and as a producer, wanting all of these characters to feel real and to matter as much as these people do, you know.”
“Confirmation” is set to air on April 16 at 8 p.m. on HBO.