Joan Felt, the SRJC Spanish teacher and daughter of the main character in the new film, “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” will be busy the next two Friday nights.
She’ll be at the movies. The film that stars Liam Neeson as her late father, the long-secret informant who broke wide open Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, opens locally Oct. 13 at the Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa and Oct. 20 at Sebastopol’s Rialto Cinemas.
Joan expects to be at both screenings. She doesn’t plan to speak but to accompany those of her sons — Will Felt and Nick and Rob Jones — who can be there and also attorney/ author John O’Connor, who knew Mark Felt like few others and will answer questions after the final credits.
Showtime at the Summerfield is at 6:30 p.m. At the Rialto, 7.
FOR JOAN and her sons, this is the most exciting and public their lives have been since they learned along with the rest of the world in 2005 that the sweet, old, former FBI deputy director sharing Joan’s Santa Rosa home was the Watergate secret informant code-named “Deep Throat.”
Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who were instructed and guided by Felt in 1972 and ’73 as they unraveled the saga in The Washington Post, long ago vowed they wouldn’t disclose his identity until after he died. But Felt decided at 91 he wanted to be alive for the big revelation.
He ended three decades of speculation and resolved one of the country’s most enduring political mysteries by outing himself in a 2005 Vanity Fair story written by John O’Connor.
The world then beat a path to his and his daughter’s front door in Santa Rosa.
Mark Felt was 95 and had lost much of his memory to Alzheimer’s disease when he died at his daughter’s home late in ’08.
THIS NEW FILM, based on the 2006 book that Mark Felt co-wrote with O’Connor, “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington,” is an exciting development for Felt’s daughter and three grandsons.
The eldest grandson, Will Felt, a 1992 graduate of Novato High School, is portrayed in the movie as a baby — and he has a non-speaking role as an FBI agent and appears on-screen with Liam Neeson.
Will’s mom is biased, but she thinks Will’s got a great story of his own. It starts when he was born and Joan, then a hippie, named him after a comet and a Hermann Hesse character.
The child was Ludi Kohoutek. Joan said he liked the name until he hit the public schools at age 6 and was teased terribly.
Little Ludi told his mom, “I want to change my name to my Grandpa’s name.”
Said Joan, “And so we did, legally, change his name to William K. Felt,” a tribute to his granddad, the then retired FBI second-in-command whose full name was William Mark Felt.
Will’s youngest brother, Nick Jones, a 1999 alum of Santa Rosa’s Cardinal Newman High, met film star Neeson while he and his wife, Janae, attended the film’s world premiere in Toronto early last month.