‘McCarthy’: ‘The Painted Bird’ Director Vaclav Marhoul & ‘Ironbark’ Scribe Tom O’Connor Team For Biopic Of ‘Red Scare’ Senator

Joseph McCarthy Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE: The Painted Bird director Vaclav Marhoul is set to make his English-language debut on McCarthy, a biopic of notorious former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Ironbark scribe Tom O’Connor has scripted the intriguing package, which will take a personal look at the influential former politician who rose to fame as a driving force behind anti-communist and anti-homosexual U.S. political sentiment during the Cold War but whose smear tactics and unfounded allegations ultimately led to censure and condemnation.

We hear the script will be a deep dive on the dangerously enigmatic but popular character and how he came to be at the center of one of America’s darkest chapters.

O’Connor, who also wrote The Hitman’s Bodyguard and that movie’s upcoming sequel, will produce with former Lava Bear, Lionsgate and John Wells Productions exec Zach Studin of Veri Media. CAA Media Finance is arranging financing for the film and reps North American rights.

Czech filmmaker Marhoul’s hard-hitting Holocaust drama The Painted Bird, adapted from the novel by Jerzy Kosinski, was one of the most-talked about European movies at Venice, where it played in Competition. The black and white opus, ten years in the making, also played at Toronto where it was acquired by IFC and will be released later this year.

This is an interesting duo for this material, which is likely to spark parallels with contemporary politicians known for demagoguery and divisive tactics. O’Connor is coming off Benedict Cumberbatch Cold War drama Ironbark, which was picked up by Lionsgate out of Sundance. The Painted Bird is a film which starkly addresses the terrifying effects of politically fuelled witch-hunts and paranoia.

McCarthy’s shadow looms large in movies including Trumbo, Good Night, And Good Luck, and The Manchurian Candidate but there hasn’t been a feature biopic for many years. The iconic political figure, who is closely associated with the Hollywood blacklist, died in 1957 aged 48 from Hepatitis. Some biographers have said his relatively rapid demise was caused or exacerbated by alcoholism.

Marhoul is repped by CAA. O’Connor is repped by 42 and Verve.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/02/mccarthy-painted-bird-director-vaclav-marhoul-ironbark-tom-oconnor-biopic-senator-1202851832/