The swimming pool that Kenneth Branagh and the actors who play the Warm Springs patients swim in is the actual pool that Franklin D. Roosevelt and the real patients swam in, and the water is the same mineral water that was used in the pool. The pool was especially refurbished for the film.
The automobile that Kenneth Branagh drives at Warm Springs is the same auto that the real Franklin D. Roosevelt drove, complete with 1920s hand controls. The make and model of the real life car that Democrat President Roosevelt drove with the special hand controls, was a 1936 Ford Phaeton, and it is on display at the "FDR Presidential Library & Museum" in Hyde Park, New York State, USA.
Throughout the film Louis Howe (played by David Paymer) is seen wearing an old brown overcoat. The real Louis Howe was known to wear the same clothes again and again, much to the dismay of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only ever American President of the United States of America to be re-elected three times, be elected four times, and serves across four presidential terms, though the last was cut short by his passing away in office.
The nick-name of Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt was "FDR". Other later Democrat Presidents would also have three-letter acronym nicknames, such as John F. Kennedy - "JFK" and Lyndon Johnson - "LBJ". These two American Presidents were actually the next two Democrat Presidents of the United States of America after "Ike", the pair's presidencies following Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose nick-name also had three letters. He took office after Democrat Vice President Harry S. Truman's term, the latter who had become President when "FDR" passed-away.
Ms Anne Lorio, Shepherd Center physiotherapist at Warm Springs, who trained Kenneth Branagh how to play a person with paraplegia, said: "We watched video images of President Roosevelt [Franklin D. Roosevelt] walking with long leg braces, and then I taught Kenneth how to walk like Roosevelt did with braces. We worked in the parallel bars and out of the parallel bars with one arm on an assistant and the other with a cane, which is what Roosevelt did in his later years. He had several questions about the script that I helped answer. For example, in one of the scenes, Roosevelt's leg spasms and Kenneth didn't know what that would look like, so I showed him."
The film was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards - Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television ; Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television for Cynthia Nixon for portraying Eleanor Roosevelt ; and Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television for Kenneth Branagh for playing Franklin D. Roosevelt - but the film failed to take home a gong in any category.
The appearance of Kenneth Branagh's legs of crippled Franklin D. Roosevelt as being very thin due to his medical condition was created through the use of visual effects (VFX) and computer generated imagery (CGI).
According to the Wikipedia website, the Warm Springs Historic District "is a historic district in Warm Springs, Georgia. It includes Franklin Delano Roosevelt [Franklin D. Roosevelt]'s Little White House and the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, where Roosevelt indulged in its warm springs. Other buildings in the district tend to range from the 1920s and 1930s. Much of the district looks the same as it did when Roosevelt frequented the area. Evidence indicates that prehistoric man was the first to use the springs, and as when Roosevelt used the springs, the temperature was 89 °F (32 °C)."
Writer Margaret Nagle was the winner of the 2006 WGA TV Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing for a Long Form (Original) written work awarded by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) for this film.
While preparing to portray Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the movie, actor Kenneth Branagh sought assistance from Shepherd Center therapists to help him convincingly portray a person with paraplegia.
Star Kenneth Branagh, who often delves into the lives of the people he will portray in order to give a more convincing performance, spent some time at the Shepherd Center with Ms Anne Lorio, a PT for the senior team in the multi-specialty care unit. Since Lorio had worked with post-polio patients, the movie's producers asked her to teach the actor how a paraplegic might move his body using a wheelchair and leg braces from the 1920s.
Producers of the movie spent some time with Shepherd Center aquatic specialist Ms Brenda Wright such as asking questions about setting up key scenes in the movie where Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Kenneth Branagh) swims in a lake.
The help from Shepherd Center staffers was invaluable, in part because the cast and crew had little historical record to go on. Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt hid his paralysis from the country and was virtually never filmed or photographed in his wheelchair. He thought that if the nation knew about his disability, they would not vote for him.
Ms Anne Kilpatrick Lorio, physical therapist at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta in Georgia, assisted actor Kenneth Branagh to make his portrayal of Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt historically accurate.
The movie's closing credits declare: "This film is a dramatization based on certain facts. Some of the names have been changed, and some of the events and characters have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes".
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The Democratic Convention of 1924 was Franklin D. Roosevelt's first public appearance since his infection from polio. He made a famous speech nominating Alfred E. Smith aka "the Happy Warrior" for President, but the party instead chose as their champion John W. Davis who in turn lost the general election to a landslide by Calvin Coolidge. Smith was nominated in 1928 but this time lost to Herbert Hoover's landslide. Smith hoped to run again in 1932, but in the intervening years FDR had succeeded Smith both as New York Governor and national champion of the party. Smith was not happy about FDR taking his place and felt betrayed by his onetime pupil.