Sony Pictures Classics is making a big $6 million U.S. deal for Truth, the James Vanderbilt-directed film about the “Rathergate” scandal that ended the careers of veteran CBS newsman Dan Rather and 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes. This after they spearheaded a 60 Minutes II expose that then-U.S. president George W. Bush had ducked serving in Vietnam after graduating Yale in 1968 by getting a cushy no-show post in the National Guard through the clout of his father, an ambassador at the time and future president. Robert Redford plays Rather, and Cate Blanchett — who has created Oscar buzz for her performance in last night’s Cannes premiere Carol — plays Mapes. Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Elisabeth Moss also star.
Rather and Mapes had just broken the blockbuster news story of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and then chased and reported the long-rumored Bush story. The ensuing scandal during Bush’s re-election campaign against Vietnam vet John Kerry led to the firing of Mapes and left Rather’s storied reputation in tatters. Their undoing: reliance on documents that came from a retired lieutenant colonel with the Texas Army National Guard. After the story prompted an outcry of criticism from conservative corners, CBS conducted an internal investigation into whether the documents were forgeries.
Paul Neinstein from Ratpac brokered. This comes after SPC acquired North American rights to the acclaimed Laszlo Nemes-directed Holocaust docu Son Of Saul, which is playing in Competition at Cannes.
Truth is based on Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President And The Privilege Of Power. It’s produced by Brad Fischer, William Sherak and Vanderbilt of Mythology Entertainment, RatPac’s Brett Ratner, Doug Mankoff and Andy Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment in association with Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton’s Dirty Films. RatPac Entertainment and the Blue Lake Media Fund financed the movie; James Packer and Mikkel Bondesen executive produce.