In a pretty shocking development, Annapurna Pictures has dropped the untitled Fox News movie that was to star Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman mere weeks before production was set to begin. The film aims to chronicle the sexual harassment plaguing the halls of Fox News, and the ripple effect of Gretchen Carlson (played by Kidman) going public with the harassment she received from Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes, with John Lithgow filling that role.
It sounds like the movie could still happen, as Variety reports that a new distributor is expected to come to the rescue in the coming weeks; The Wrap says Focus Features is in the mix. As for why Annapurna passed, Variety cites one source who says Annapurna became uncomfortable with the growing budget, while two other sources say Bron Studios—which financed Fences and the upcoming The Mule—will come on board.
It’s unclear if production will be affected, but filming was due to begin soon under the direction of Jay Roach, who helmed the politically focused HBO movies Game Change and Recount as well as the theatrical biopic Trumbo. Oscar-winning The Big Short co-writer Charles Randolph penned the script, and the impressive ensemble cast also includes Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon.
This isn’t the only project about Roger Ailes and the sexist environment of Fox News currently in the works. Showtime is also putting together a limited series starring Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson. Indeed, this angle is a hot one at the moment, and Roach was no doubt hoping his film would be first out of the gate. If another studio steps in soon he will likely still beat the Showtime series to the punch, but we’ll see.