Director Václav Marhoul (The Painted Bird) has tapped two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) to star as controversial U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy in the biopic we first revealed last year.
McCarthy will look at the man behind anti-communist doctrine McCarthyism to understand what drove a lawyer and decorated former U.S. Marine down an unprecedented path of demagoguery, show-trials and venomous populism.
Emmy nominee Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) and Scoot McNairy (C’mon C’mon) will star together with Shannon.
Clarke will play McCarthy’s politically ambitious wife Jean Kerr; DeHaan will be his ruthless young lawyer Roy Cohn. Pic is slated to go into production in the fall 2022 in Prague and the U.S.
Tom O’Connor (The Hitman’s Bodyguard franchise) wrote the original screenplay. The film is produced by Zach Studin together with O’Connor. Rick McCallum, producer of the three Star Wars films – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith will executive-produce.
HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution of the movie and will commence sales at next month’s virtual American Film Market. CAA Media Finance will oversee the U.S sale.
Marhoul previously played in Competition at the Venice Film Festival for drama The Painted Bird.
Heads of department include cinematographer Vladimír Smutný (The Painted Bird, Kolja) and Emmy award-winning production designer Ján Vlasák (The Painted Bird).
Post production and VFX will be handled by visual effects and post production house UPP, renowned for their work on Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman, Terminator: Dark Fate, Skyscraper, Rampage and Gemini Man.
Zach Studin commented: “The saga of Joe McCarthy is timeless and the drama behind his rise to power, sobering. It is a powerful reminder to us all that truth and facts are the lifeblood of a free and open society. Tom’s exceptional screenplay, Václav’s uncompromising vision and this remarkable ensemble gives the film the necessary foundation to properly explore this chilling and critical chapter of American history.”
HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart also noted: “There are many countries around the world dealing with their own McCarthys right now and it is no surprise that a director who grew up behind the iron curtain should wish to lift the veil on McCarthy, the ultimate architect of populism. True stories are stranger than fiction, and Tom O’Connor’s screenplay is brilliantly researched, both shocking and entertaining, yet treats its villainous characters with true human complexity. Shannon is perfectly suited to inhabit the role of McCarthy and in Jean Kerr, our story’s very own Lady Macbeth, there’s a delicious role for Emilia Clarke.”
Shannon is represented by CAA, Range Media Partners, and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman. Clarke by CAA, Range Media Partners, Emptage Hallett, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman. DeHaan is represented by CAA, MGMT, and Sloan, Offer, Weber & Dern. McNairy by UTA and The Group Management. Marhoul is represented by CAA, O’Connor by Verve and 42 and Studin by Morris, Yorn, Barnes, Levine, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner & Geller.
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