Jay Roach’s Roger Ailes movie starring John Lithgow as the disgraced Fox News Channel boss is no longer going forward at Annapurna Pictures. The news comes days before its production start, Deadline has confirmed.
Word is the production cost of $35 million was soaring upwards from that point, and for this film to be realized in the way that the filmmakers want it, they’re now considering Focus Features and co-financier Participant Media. Other sources contend that there were other reasons than budget in regards to why the Ailes project didn’t come together at Annapurna. BRON Studios continues to stay aboard as co-financier. Amblin was rumored to be in the mix, but that is no longer the case.
In the wake of the news, BRON Studios released the statement, “BRON Studios is thrilled to be producing and co-financing Fair and Balanced. We love the project, filmmakers and cast and look forward to supporting their vision.” Fair and Balanced is the working title of the movie.
The project written by The Big Short Oscar-winning screenwriter Charles Randolph quickly became a who’s-who all-star ensemble, the latest to join Monday was Malcolm McDowell to play News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch. Charlize Theron is attached to play Megyn Kelly, Margot Robbie is Kayla Pospisil, and Nicole Kidman is Gretchen Carlson, the FNC anchor who sued Ailes for sexual harassment two years ago. Allison Janney and Kate McKinnon were also announced to star in the project.
The Ailes movie centers on a group of female employees and correspondents who decide they’ve had enough with the sexist FNC culture and battle back against their boss. Robbie’s character is a fictional Fox News producer.
Most of Roach’s modern-day politically themed feature dramas, with the exception of Trumbo, which had a theatrical release, have previously played on HBO, i.e., the Golden Globe-winning 2008 Recount about the 2000 Presidential election, and the five-time Emmy winning, three-time Golden Globe-winning Game Change about Sen. John McCain’s ambitious selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008.
Showtime is in the middle of developing a miniseries about Ailes and the alleged sexist work environment at FNC.