×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

John Lithgow to Play Roger Ailes in Fox News Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

John Lithgow will play Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief who masterfully exploited the country’s political divisions to rise to the top of the cable news heap, in Annapurna’s upcoming drama about the sexual harassment scandal that ended his career.

The Tony and Emmy winner joins a cast of heavyweights that includes Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and Charlize Theron. The currently untitled film focuses on Ailes’ downfall, zeroing in on a group of female employees who bucked the culture of sexism at the network to oust the news baron from power. Kidman will play Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News anchor who sued Ailes for harassment in July 2016, and Charlize Theron will portray Megyn Kelly, a star at the network whose decision to go public with her own story of abuse was seen as a key turning point. Robbie’s character is said to be a fictional Fox News associate producer. Ailes was fired from Fox News within weeks of Carlson’s suit and after several more women came forward with similar allegations of sexual misconduct. He died roughly a year later at the age of 77. The film is written by Academy-Award winner Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”) and is directed by Jay Roach (“Trumbo”).

This isn’t the only Ailes-related project that’s scheduled to debut soon. Russell Crowe will play the Fox News founder in Showtime’s adaptation of Gabriel Sherman’s book “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” The limited series will be more focused on Ailes’ career and life story, whereas 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.

Lithgow’s credits include Oscar-nominated turns in “Terms of Endearment” and “The World According to Garp,” along with villainous roles in the likes of “Cliffhanger” and “Raising Cain.” He will next appear in the Mindy Kaling comedy “Late Night” and “Pet Sematary,”  an adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

Lithgow recently scored an Emmy for his work as Winston Churchill in Netflix’s “The Crown,” and previously picked up the same honor for “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “Dexter.” On stage, Lithgow won Tonys for “Sweet Smell of Success” and “The Changing Room.” Last winter, he appeared on Broadway in the one-man show “John Lithgow: Stories by Heart.”

Annapurna, which previously backed the likes of “Detroit” and “The Phantom Thread,” is producing the film along with Theron, Beth Kono, and AJ Dix of Denver and Delilah. Roach, Randolph and and Margaret Riley of Lighthouse Media and Management are also producing.

Lithgow is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and attorney Walter Teller.

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content