Brow Beat

Richard Linklater Directs an Anti–Ted Cruz Ad Starring an Old Man With a Foul Mouth

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s re-election slogan is “Tough as Texas,” but an ad directed by Texas-bred filmmaker Richard Linklater isn’t so sure that makes sense, given Cruz’s deferential relationship with President Trump. In the ad, actor Sonny Carl Davis, sitting in a Texas diner, makes reference to Trump’s bizarre attacks on Cruz during the 2016 campaign, declaring, “If somebody called my wife a dog and said that my daddy was in on the Kennedy assassination, I wouldn’t be kissing their ass.”


The ad was paid for by the Fire Ted Cruz super PAC, and not by Cruz’s Democratic rival, Beto O’Rourke, who has renounced that kind of support in his campaign. It re-creates a scene from Linklater’s 2011 dark comedy Bernie in which Davis, playing an unnamed resident at a barbecue joint, dons the same outfit and mug. The director has given $1,500 to O’Rourke’s campaign so far this year.

Linklater previously filmed a political ad in Texas in 2017, which denounced a bill that would have prevented Texas public school students from the using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. His latest is the first released of several ads he directed for this campaign cycle.