It’s official: As reported by Variety, John Lithgow will be joining director Jay Roach (Trumbo) for his strong>Fox News film, where he’ll be playing human sea-slug Roger Ailes, the harasser-in-chief, alongside a number of other incredible performers. This follows the news that Charlize Theron would be portraying news anchor Meghan Kelly alongside Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson) and Margot Robbie (as an unnamed, potentially fictionalized, associate producer). It’s being produced by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures and is penned by The Big Short scribe Charles Randolph.
Here’s some more details from the Variety article about what the film will actually be about: “The Annapurna film is centered on the whistle-blowers. It will be told from the point-of-view of these women, not Ailes. Both projects will arrive as issues of workplace safety and harassment are front-and-center in the entertainment industry. After all, it’s easy to draw a line from Ailes to the toppling of other alleged abusers such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, and Russell Simmons.”
This is some great fucking casting.
To viewers of a certain age (meaning the Jake Paulers of the world), Lithgow’s been a kind of cute-and-cuddly dude thanks to his appearances on things like 3rd Rock From the Sun and his many comedic roles over the last twenty years, but he definitely did not begin his career like this. Just head back and watch Brian De Palma’s absolute classic Blow Out, where he plays pretty much the embodiment of cool, chaotic evil (or De Palma’s Raising Cain, which features Lithgow in another unhinged role), or check out his stressed-out, panicked appearance in George Miller’s segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie back in 1982. He’s got some seriously creepy chops, and we imagine that he’ll bring the same intensity to his work as Ailes, though we sincerely hope that this film doesn’t minimize just how utterly evil the Fox News head was on a personal level to his employees.
The untitled Fox News film hasn’t started shooting yet, nor is it slated for a particular release date, but stay tuned for more information as it breaks.