Ben Platt on ‘The Politician’ and Playing an “Assertive, Aggressive and Confident” Character

“I was born with this idea that I really wanted to be a performer and an actor and I don’t remember making a conscious decision. It was just an innate feeling that that’s what I was meant to do” – Ben Platt

In Netflix’s The Politician, Broadway star Ben Platt is playing Payton Hobart, a devious politician which will reportedly focus season-by-season on political campaigns that Hobart is involved — perhaps even all the way up to the U.S. Presidency, though the first season starts with Hobart’s run for student body president at a prestigious Santa Barbara prep school. Talking about playing a character like Hobart to Spirit FM, Platt reveals that while he can’t relate to many of his character’s traits, he can connect with several key aspects of his character.

Platt explains that he has no intention of ever entering politics — especially after starring on The Politician — because it runs contrary to his personality. “If I did before the show I certainly don’t have after playing this character. I think it’s really pointed out to me that it’s not in my DNA – that ability to compartmentalize emotion and to sort of put drive and ambition above relationships and above empathy is just not something that I have. I feel like if anything I’ve spent time trying to mine my emotions and lead into them as an actor and sort of exploit them, so to put them to the side isn’t in my DNA.”

Nonetheless, Platt admits that he does see some things that he has in common with Hobart, explaining, “Similarly to him I was born with this idea that I really wanted to be a performer and an actor and I don’t remember making a conscious decision. It was just an innate feeling that that’s what I was meant to do, and he feels the same way about being president of the United States. And I’ve been very one track minded about it since I was eight or nine years old and I started working. I’ve stayed very focused in the way that he has and I think we’re very alike in that way.”

In fact, Platt relished the opportunity to portray a character like Hobart because he has typically portrayed much more reserved characters, like his award-winning performance in Dear Evan Hansen. He says, “As someone that had been playing very anxious, meek, loving, kind characters, to be presented with someone who is assertive, aggressive and confident, and takes up space, was a delicious challenge… When I was doing Dear Evan Hansen and I’d have this very emotional, vulnerable outlet of lots of tears and sort of sadness, it’s a similar satisfaction to lean into the snark and the anger and the and the sort of bitchiness of it as well.”

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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