A 25 year old female White House staffer, Carla Town, is murdered in the White House. D.C. homicide detective Regis is assigned to investigate, only to find evidence suppressed by the Secret Service. After suspecting a cover-up, Regis convinces Secret Service Agent Nina Chance to assist in uncovering the truth. The President’s son Kyle Neil is a prime suspect, as he was having sex with Carla within an hour of her murder.
While the investigation ensues, the President, Jack Neil, is holding meetings with top military personnel regarding North Korea’s holding 23 U.S. military personnel hostage. Regis confronts top Secret Service Agent Spikings at his home shortly after Spikings returns with evidence leading to the murder. The home is attacked and Spikings is killed, but Regis makes it out alive with Agent Chance’s assistance, and with the evidence tape.
White House adviser Jordan presents false evidence to the President that his son killed Carla and forces the President to say he will announce his resignation at 10 p.m. the following day. Regis and Chance break into the White House via underground tunnels, stop the President from resigning, and arrest Jordan for conspiracy to murder. Jordan pulls a gun, injures Agent Chance, and is killed by multiple Secret Service agents. A news briefing states there were false rumors of the President resigning, and also falsely state that Agent Spikings was killed in the gunfire exchange between Jordan and the Secret Service.
Murder at 1600 is a 1997 American thriller film directed by Dwight H. Little. The film stars Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane. The 1600 in the title refers to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the address of the White House. The film is based on the novel Murder in the White House by Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
Producer Arnold Kopelson was attracted to Murder at 1600, having said that “lately, the White House has been vulnerable to a surprisingly wide variety of assaults,” and along with producer Arnon Milchan offered the script to director Dwight H. Little, who accepted as despite his action film experience he had never made a suspense film, “and political thrillers are probably my favorite movie genre; I love those seminal conspiracy movies of the ’70s.”
The filmmakers then invited Wesley Snipes, considering him to have the physicality, intelligence and humor required for Harlan Regis, and Snipes accepted for the depth of the character and “the opportunity to do a suspense role, which is usually reserved for more mature actors.” Diane Lane was attracted by the role of Agent Chance because “she stands by her personal code,” and Lane had the markswoman experience required for the role.
Although scenes were filmed in Washington, D.C., primary locations were in Toronto, Canada and nearby locations in Ontario. As Absolute Power was occupying the Oval Office set built for Dave, a new Oval Office was built in the Cinespace studios in Kleinburg. The film crew made many visits to the White House for reference in making what production designer Nelson Coates described as “the most architecturally accurate” recreation of the room. The Oval Office still stands at the studio, and has been used in productions such as Dick and The Sentinel.
Murder at 1600 (1997)
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Alan Alda, Daniel Benzali, Ronny Cox, Dennis Miller, Tate Donovan, Harris Yulin, Nicholas Pryor, Tamara Gorski
Screenplay by: Wayne Beach, David Hodgin
Production Design by: Nelson Coates
Cinematography by: Steven Bernstein
Film Editing by: Leslie Jones, Billy Weber
Costume Design by: Denise Cronenberg
Set Decoration by: Tedd Kuchera
Art Direction by: Dan Yarhi
Music by: Christopher Young
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, violence and some language.
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: April 18, 1997