“The truth as we know it is over.” “Civil War” star on how it really could happen here.

The biggest movie in the country right now is about a civil war — in America.

If you see the film “Civil War” at a theater in downtown Washington, the scenes of the Lincoln Memorial exploding and the White House being attacked are jarring when you exit into the D.C. air.

The movie is writer and director Alex Garland’s very in-your-face attempt to imagine the unimaginable in America — an authoritarian leader in the White House, intractable political differences being resolved through violence and the very specific horrors of modern warfare — urban fighting, refugee camps, mass atrocities, the collapse of the currency — all the things that we associate with stuff that can happen over there happening right here in the United States.

“Civil War” is also a movie about journalism.

It follows four reporters traveling from New York to Washington, D.C., via a circuitous route through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

The movie takes on a lot of the weighty issues we talk about on shows like this one: media ethics, political polarization, disinformation polluting our media ecosystem and the potential threat from an autocratic leader.

Wagner Moura plays a hardened war correspondent addicted to the battlefield. He also provides some much needed levity in the movie.

Moura is best-known for his role as Pablo Escobar in “Narcos.” But he’s also a former journalist, a political activist and a writer and director himself. His 2019 movie “Marighella” about the coup and counter-revolution in Brazil in the 1960s incurred the wrath of then-president Jair Bolsonaro in Moura’s home country of Brazil.

Deep Dive host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talked with Moura on Thursday just as Washington’s annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner festivities were getting under way. It’s the time of year when the relationship between journalists, politicians and Hollywood is at its peak in this town.

They had a fascinating conversation about how making a movie about a new civil war changed Moura’s own personal thinking about politics, how his experience with Bolsonaro in Brazil is a warning for Americans and the role of art in politics.

Roy Walsh

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