In the po­lit­i­cal drama, Pax­ton of­fers a dif­fer­ent look on the head­line-grab­bing mis­tress

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For Sara Pax­ton, the gig felt like serendip­ity. Be­fore The Front Run­ner, “I was lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast about Gary Hart,” the ac­tress, 30, re­calls. “I couldn’t be­lieve I had never heard this story!” A year later, the script — and role of Donna Rice — fell into her lap. “I was so ex­cited be­cause she is por­trayed to­tally dif­fer­ently,” she adds. “She’s writ­ten with dig­nity and re­spect.”

SO RAD Thanks to direc­tor Ja­son Reit­man, the cast eas­ily time-warped to the ’80s. “Ev­ery day, he’d cre­ate a news­pa­per with ar­ti­cles from that ex­act day in 1988,” says Pax­ton.

“We couldn’t be ad lib­bing about iPhones! We knew the best­selling books and what peo­ple were talk­ing about. It re­ally put us in the mo­ment.”

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