The actress stars in the upcoming HBO drama based on a 2004 novel by Philip Roth that depicts an alternate history of America in which aviator Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt for the presidency in the 1940s. In the book, Lindbergh slowly morphs the United States into a fascist government, using anti-semitic rhetoric to stoke fear and unify the country through hate.
Speaking to Variety at the series’ premiere, Ryder and the minds behind the show noted how many similarities it has to the Trump administration, which has taken criticism for the president’s “America First” rhetoric.
“Obviously, a lot has been weighing on all of our minds. The whole fear of ‘the other’ in the eyes of fascism, what’s happening at the border, all of that is so outrageous and I think the last few years has been such a mind boggling-like nightmare in so many ways,” Ryder said. “When I think about this project, it makes me want to speak out and do whatever I can and the way to do that right now is to vote.”
Ryder plays Evelyn Finkel, a woman who is initially on board for Lindbergh's candidacy.
David Simon, the series’ creator, echoed the actress' sentiments, saying that the Trump administration has stoked fears in the modern-day that Roth’s novel discussed in the context of the 1940s.
“We know what happened in WWII, we know what the Holocaust was, we know what "America first" meant in 1940 and what was at stake,” Simon said. “The ‘othering’ that’s going on right now in this country quite obviously is the misuse and abuse of people of color, black and brown people, immigrants, people from Muslim countries, people who are Islamic. That’s now the cohort that is fundamentally happening in America.”