Tom Cruise's new movie American Made largely takes place in the state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. Considering the heavy political aspects of the story, it's not too surprising to learn the state's former governor was almost depicted in the film. Also potentially unsurprising, is that the scene in question would have taken place inside a strip club, because Bill Clinton. However, in an attempt to keep the movie from becoming too political, the scene was removed.
American Made was originally going by the title Mena, a reference to the town of Mena, Arkansas, where the CIA used an airfield to smuggle guns and train Nicaraguan contras, while Barry Seal, portrayed in the film by Tom Cruise, flies drugs, as well as weapons, back and forth to Central America.
Much of the details of exactly who knew what during what became the Iran-Conta Affair are still unclear, but considering that much of what was going on took place in Arkansas while future President of the United States Bill Clinton was governor, there are certainly those who believe Clinton was aware of what was happening. American Made very nearly made this theory a part of the plot, as, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a scene that was originally part of the script included Barry Seal getting the idea to enlist Clinton's aid in the scheme, leading to the two having a meeting in a strip club, while Clinton received a lapdance.
Needless to say, such a scene would have been highly controversial, considering Bill Clinton's involvement in the affair has never been proven. The movie balanced the political scales, however, as the original script also implicated the complicity of George H.W. Bush, then Vice President, in a scene that was also cut.
Bill Clinton is never seen on screen in American Made, though he is referenced during a scene where the governor calls the Arkansas State Attorney General, which could still be taken as an implication that Clinton knew what was happening, but the scene is left ambiguous. George H.W. Bush is only seen in actual news footage spliced into the movie, though George W. Bush does make a brief cameo, portrayed by Connor Trinneer.
A number of real-life people are major parts of the story as Manuel Noriega, Pablo Escobar, and Oliver North are all key members of the plot American Made. Their involvement in the events is generally unquestioned, however, which makes including them much less controversial. Including Bill Clinton, and stating that he had knowledge of the illegal events is a bit different. Putting him in a strip club is really just an easy joke that the movie doesn't really need.
Tom Crusie's American Made is in theaters now. You can check out our review of the film here.
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