The Amazing Spider-Man and Independence Day 3 screenwriter James Vanderbilt told Deadline that in choosing his first project to direct, he wanted one that mattered greatly — particularly since screenwriters don’t always get a shot to graduate to the director’s chair. And if Vanderbilt had one shot, that film is the feature adaptation of Mary Mapes’ autobiography Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power, which details the fallout of her 60 Minutes-produced investigation about President George W. Bush’s alleged draft-dodging of the Vietnam War.
It was an easy go-to for Vanderbilt since he’s a journalism-phile, having written the newsroom thriller Zodiac. The controversial 60 Minutes news segment was scrutinized over its use of potentially inaccurate memos that Mapes’ team secured about Bush shirking his Vietnam duties while in service to the Texas Air National Guard. Mapes and her team, along with the segment’s anchor Dan Rather, were criticized for exercising their political biases over news judgment, the result of which was Mapes (portrayed by Cate Blanchett), three of her producers and Rather getting the boot from CBS.
Rather — who is played by Robert Redford — was involved in the tubthumping of the film at the Toronto Film Festival, going so far as to choke up during a Q&A session at the Saturday premiere. Sony Classics will open Truth on October 16. Vanderbilt stopped by Deadline/Awardsline’s studio at the Templar hotel to discuss Truth along with stars Topher Grace and Elisabeth Moss, who respectively play 60 Minutes news team members Mike Smith and Lucy Scott in the film from Sony Pictures Classics.