Way to keep us hooked with a stellar ensemble cast!
There isn’t much that would make us buy into a movie based on Fox News. However, as with most film projects sporting contentious log lines and premises, good casting certainly helps to keep us invested.
While the saga surrounding Roger Ailes’ sexual harassment allegations doesn’t immediately sound like a heartening subject to immortalize in film, some filmmakers in Hollywood are adamant that the full story is unpacked on screen through multiple avenues. Besides Showtime’s upcoming Ailes series headlined by Russell Crowe and Alex Gibney’s documentary, Jay Roach of Recount and Game Change fame will put the Ailes accusations under a microscope through the lens of the women involved.
That fact is coupled with a true stroke of casting genius. Hiring a sharp chameleonic wonder like Charlize Theron to play former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly further ensures that this is the takedown movie to be intrigued by. Honestly, the casting director of this film already deserves further acclamation anyway, because together with Theron, they may have secured an unstoppable, dynamite, and very blonde trifecta as part of the movie’s overall ensemble.
As reported by Variety, Nicole Kidman is negotiating a major role in Roach’s film, which several outlets have either deemed untitled or tentatively called Fair and Balanced. Should talks come to fruition, Kidman will play Gretchen Carlson, a prominent former anchor at Fox who was evidently fired from the conservative morning talk show Fox & Friends after rejecting Ailes’ sexual advances.
Carlson truly was pivotal to Ailes’ downfall. In early July 2016, she was the first woman to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the mogul, which launched an internal probe into his tenure at Fox. Allegations then kept snowballing from there.
Author Gabriel Sherman – who first noted Ailes’ inappropriate behavior in his book “The Loudest Voice in the Room” – released a damning report featuring six more women speaking up against Ailes three days after Carlson’s lawsuit. Sherman further documented Megyn Kelly’s assertions against the magnate some weeks later. Two days after that, Ailes resigned from Fox.
Furthermore, as many traditional biopics are wont to do, Roach’s film is apparently also looking to pad out its narrative with fictional roles as well. The Hollywood Reporter has additionally announced that Margot Robbie is up for the role of an associate producer at Fox who Deadline confirms to be named Kayla Pospisil. While no details about the character have been revealed, it’s easy to picture the fictionalized Kelly, Carlson, and Pospisil (and many more women) teaming up against the male-dominated establishment.
Given the number of Ailes-centric projects that are currently in the works, these women both real and fictional serve as the true hook of Roach’s film. The movie has the barest of log lines at the moment but still determines that women’s perspectives will be prioritized over some tortured portrayal of Aile’s psyche.
Truthfully, considering the unsavory nature of the biases disseminated by an institution like Fox News, the movie needs such a likable and talented cast behind it to sell a worthwhile experience. The project’s focus on bringing together a number of striking actresses may hint at the nuance the narrative is hoping to reach. Like Theron, Kidman, and Robbie each have plenty to offer as leading ladies.
Kidman is a master of subtlety who exudes power in even her quietest performances. She truly kills me with a glance! From the raw anguish of her prosthetic-wearing, Oscar-winning turn in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours to the depressing duality of her role as a woman with many secrets in Big Little Lies, she keeps her performances grounded with extraordinary deftness.
Even Kidman’s weirder, more conflicting characters are unforgettable and mesmerizing. Movies like Birth and Stoker are a far cry from the realism of a biopic or modern-day drama. However, Kidman’s performances in them stay with me the most because they are elusive but never empty. Make no mistake that she’ll bring a similarly imposing quality in whoever she stars as, including Carlson.
As for Robbie, she has come a long way from The Wolf of Wall Street. Martin Scorsese’s black comedy introduced her to the masses via an electric portrayal which would have been a much blander stereotype without her. Robbie goes on to command the screen by embracing change in her repertoire. Some of her early movies – think Focus and The Legend of Tarzan – teeter in the realm of typicality. They later make way for Harley Quinn’s exceptional kookiness in Suicide Squad, and shot Robbie to stardom.
However, what makes Robbie’s career way more arresting is that she is able to ditch all that mainstream baggage and convincingly play absolutely grating people in Goodbye Christopher Robin and I, Tonya. Robbie’s film choices defy vanity in many ways, and she has proven a proclivity for a decidedly thorny subject matter in her upcoming work. As a result, Roach’s film is an apt addition to Robbie’s slate.
Other key players such as former anchor Greta Van Susteren, mogul Rupert Murdoch, ex-host Bill O’Reilly, and of course Ailes himself have yet to be cast in Roach’s film. Still, with the caliber and star power attached to the project as it is, this potentially contrary women-centric Fox News biopic is already giving its rivals a run for their money.