Director James Vanderbilt on ‘Truth’, ‘The Shining’ Prequel, and Future Projects

     October 16, 2015


Based on Mary Mapes’ book, Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege of Power, James Vanderbilt’s Truth, the directorial debut of the Zodiac scribe, is currently enjoying a limited theatrical run. In the film, Robert Redford plays Dan Rather, the famed newscaster, while Cate Blanchett takes on the role of Mapes herself, Rather’s producer, who discovered news that George W. Bush may have been AWOL from the United States National Guard during the Vietnam War and ran the story on 60 Minutes II. What happened during the production of the story and its aftermath make up the bulk of Truth’s studious drama.

Attending the recent Los Angeles press day, I sat down with Vanderbilt for an extended video interview where he talked about the genesis of the project and adapting Mapes’ book. The wirier-director also spoke about meeting Mapes, separating fact from fiction for the movie, and what he learned from friends and family screenings, while also touching on the casting process and future projects like Murder Mystery. Vanderbilt also included some tidbits about The Shining prequel, which is being helmed by Mark Romanek, and a Suge Knight documentary he’s working, along with a lot more.

James Vanderbilt Time Index:

  • 0:53 – Talks about adapting Mary Mapes’ book and meeting the author.
  • 5:15 – Comments on separating fact from fiction for the movie.
  • truth-image-cate-blanchett-robert-redford

    Image via Sony Pictures Classics

    6:25 – Talks about the process of trying to talk to Dan Rather and getting his approval for the adaptation.

  • 8:25 – Comments on the casting process, landing Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, and financing the picture.
  • 12:40 – Reveals the length of the first cut of the film and comments on his editing process.
  • 13:30 – Talks about his friends-and-family screening and its feedback.
  • 15:05 – Gives an update on Murder Mystery and reveals that they’re in talks with a director and actor, but can’t talk about whom just yet.
  • 16:05 – Comments on the The Shining prequel, says they have an amazing script from Glen Mazzara with Mark Romanek attached to direct.
  • 16:35 – Talks about the need for a director of Romanek’s caliber for a project like this.
  • 17:00 – Comments on how Mazzara and Romanek crafted the story.
  • 17:35 – Praises Romanek’s artistic vision and commitment
  • 18:38 – Updates the progress on the Suge Knight documentary.
  • 19:50  – Notes that Showtime is excited about the project, which should be out in a few months.
  • 20:00 – Gives a brief rundown of his current and upcoming projects, including the new Independence Day


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