Annapurna drops Roger Ailes biopic ahead of production start
The outlet notes that budget issues may have been the reason why Annapurna is walking away from the project, with the budget listed at $35 million. Bron Studios (Fences, The Birth of a Nation) is now co-financing production. Focus Features, Amblin Entertainment, and Participant Media are in the mix to acquire the movie.
The film is described mostly as an ensemble piece, with the majority of the focus being on former Fox News chief Roger Ailes (John Lithgow, The Crown) and his ultimate downfall that came about after a number of women, including Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megan Kelly (Charlize Theron), sued him for harassment. Other characters that will be included in the film are former anchor Greta Van Susteren and former host Bill O’Reilly.
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters) also star. Robbie will play a fictional Fox News associate producer, while Janney will portray Susan Estrich, Ailes’ attorney who represented him after multiple workers at Fox News accused him of workplace sexual harassment.
Ailes was fired from Fox News within weeks of Carlson’s suit after several more women came forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct. Murdoch, who put Ailes in charge of the network in 1996, was one of the news chief’s strongest supporters, though he ultimately made the decision to fire Ailes.
Jay Roach (Game Change) is set to direct the film and Charles Randolph has penned the script for the project. Theron will also be producing the feature along with Beth Kong and AJ Dix via Denver & Delilah. Roach, Randolph, and Margaret Riley are also producing.
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