Wrathall: [Vidal's] grandfather opposed entering World War I and lost his seat in the [US] Senate for years because of that. Then he was reelected, but was always known as a very honest man. And Gore was brought up that way. So he felt his way of being honest from outside the system was to point out all the faults and point out what people were really up to and what their motivations were. And sort of expose the 'inside of the Beltway,' so to speak.
You think of this man who was friends with Eleanor Roosevelt and J.F.K. and then later in life became friends with Mikhail Gorbachev, you couldn’t have a bigger political spectrum. I’m from Australia, and he knew the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, and the premier of my state New South Wales, Bob Carr, really well. When I found that out, I was just stunned that even in far-flung Australia, he knew these people. They visited him in Italy and had phone conversations and talked politics.
He was a very engaged person who wanted to know what was going on in every aspect of the world. He studied history and philosophy and he knew everyone. It was exciting for him. He wanted to know what people were doing. He had such a thirst for knowledge that he needed to know what everyone was doing everywhere all the time. It’s insane to think, but he managed to keep up before the Internet with all these people all over the world.
Read the entire interview at www.hollywoodreporter.com