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A new film about Hillary Clinton’s mysterious gap year is on its way

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A film focusing on a mysterious year in Hillary Clinton’s life is officially in the works.

In 1969, the 22-year-old Hillary Rodham – as she was then – spent a year working odd jobs across Alaska. She had finished university at the prestigious Wellesley College, where she graduated in a blaze of glory, and was yet to start at Yale Law School.

This year will be the subject of upcoming indie film When I’m a Moth, according to The Wrap. Taking on the role of the future presidential candidate is former Californication star Addison Timlin, 25.

Magdalena Zyzak, one of the writer-directors behind the project, says that the film is “about the unreality of politicians”.

“It’s part of this diptych on female power,” she added.


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The first part of said diptych is Zyzak’s film Critically Endangered Species, starring Rosanna Arquette and Lena Olin.

However, Zyzak’s co-writer and director Zachary Cotler insists that When I’m Moth should not be classed as a Clinton biopic.

“It’s not a biopic,” he says. “It’s about how politics makes you not real.”

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Actor Addison Timlin will play the young Hillary Clinton in When I'm a Moth.

The period Clinton spent in Alaska in her early 20s has been the subject of much speculation over the years. Bill Clinton referred to his wife’s unorthodox gap year in his speech at the Democratic National Convention last July, saying: “Between college and law school on a total lark she went alone to Alaska and spent some time sliming fish.”

In Clinton’s 2003 biography Living History, meanwhile, she described how she had spent a summer “washing dishes at [Alaska’s] Mt. McKinley National Park… and sliming fish in Valdez in a temporary salmon factory on a pier”.


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Clinton had previously told The New York Times that she was fired from the fish factory after asking the owner inconvenient questions about the “purple and black and yucky looking” fish. At a 2015 town hall, she said that the cannery disappeared overnight when she turned up to pick up her final pay cheque.

Questions have been raised about the veracity of Clinton’s account of her time in Alaska – particularly given that there are apparently no records of a Hillary Rodham being fired from any Valdez firm in 1969, nor of a fish factory closing. It remains to be seen whether When I’m a Moth will explore these unknowns.

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A separate TV series about Hillary Clinton's presidential run against Donald Trump is also in the works.

There are also other Clinton-based projects in the works, although details on these are less concrete. An upcoming HBO miniseries will focus on the year of Clinton’s presidential race against Donald Trump, but little is known about the project beyond its subject matter.

Another feature-length film about Clinton, Rodham, has been in development for several years. Set at the height of the Watergate scandal, the script explores Clinton’s time as the youngest lawyer on the committee that helped impeach then-President Richard Nixon. However, Rodham was dropped by Lionsgate in 2015 – and screenwriter Young Il Kim wrote last year that “Hollywood doesn’t make movies about losers”.

Images: Rex Features / Getty Images

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