EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics has landed North American rights to The Silent Man, the Peter Landesman-directed film that stars Liam Neeson as Mark Felt. The longtime FBI No. 2 man under J. Edgar Hoover, Felt will go down in history as Deep Throat, the nickname of the whistle blower and primary source for Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they uncovered the Watergate scandal that toppled the Nixon administration. In the backdrop of the recent firing of FBI head James Comey by President Donald Trump and questions over the investigation of alleged Russian influence on the last presidential election, SPC has set the film for September release as the distributor expects recent political turmoil to spark renewed public interest in Felt’s story.
The drama is written by Landesman, the former New York Times Magazine correspondent who wrote/directed the nonfiction dramas Concussion and Parkland, and wrote the Michael Cuesta-directed Kill the Messenger. The film is a co-production between Scott Free, MadRiver Pictures, Endurance Media, Torridon Films and Riverstone Pictures, and the producers are Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, Landesman, Steve Richards and Jay Roach. Yale Badik, Des Carey, Colin Wilson, Peter Guber, Jeffrey Vinik, Nik Bower, Deepak Nayar and Michael Schaefer are the executive producers.
Neeson stars as Felt, alongside Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Josh Lucas, Tony Goldwyn, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ike Barinholtz, Bruce Greenwood, Brian D’Arcy James, Kate Walsh, Noah Wyle, Julian Morris and Maika Monroe.
SPC confirmed the deal to Deadline with this statement: “Mark Felt was one of the most instrumental figures in American history and yet very little is known of him and the risks he took to reveal the truth. This is an incredible story well told by Peter and his creative team, with a top-notch cast led by an extraordinary performance from Liam. This film could be not more timely and relevant for audiences.”
While speculation sometimes fell on Felt as the possible source that led the media to get to the bottom of the botched Watergate burgling of the Democratic National Committee offices in 1972, he deflected those assumptions through the years and the true identity of the secret informant remained a mystery until Felt finally revealed himself as Deep Throat in 2005. The movie tells the story of Felt’s career as a keeper of secrets and his rise to the top of Hoover’s FBI, only to risk and ultimately sacrifice everything to reveal a scandal that shook the country to its core. Felt died in 2008 at age 95. CAA brokered the deal. Sierra/Affinity is selling international.