×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Russian Interference Movie Directed by ‘Booksmart’ Co-Writer in Development

Winner,” a biopic about the leaker of the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election intelligence report, is in the works at Big Beach, with “Booksmart” co-writer Susanna Fogel on board to direct.

The film follows the real life story of Reality Leigh Winner, a former American intelligence specialist who was the first to expose Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She was arrested in 2017 and is currently serving a five-and-a-half year prison sentence. The script is written by Kerry Howley, who also wrote the 2017 New York Magazine article, “Who is Reality Winner?”

Dani Melia and Peter Saraf of Big Beach will produce alongside Amanda Phillips, who brought the project in.

“We are honored to be bringing Reality Winner’s story to screen from a beautiful screenplay by Kerry Howley,” said Melia. “We have been longtime fans of Susanna Fogel and can think of no one better to capture this complex character through an empathetic and human lens. This is an urgent story that far too few Americans are aware of, and we have assembled the perfect creative team to tell it.”

Fogel’s directing credits include “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” the 2014 Magnolia Pictures’ release “Life Partners” and pilots for the upcoming limited series “The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max) and “The Wilds” (Amazon).

Popular on Variety

“Reality Winner is a mouthpiece for a generation of young people who are struggling to square their personal ethics with the crumbling ethics of our country’s institutions, which we want to be proud of and have allegiance to,” Fogel said. “Kerry’s incredible script lays the groundwork for us to approach her timely story with humor and emotion, rather than preaching or partisanship.”

Big Beach produced “The Farewell,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Loving.”

Fogel is repped by UTA and Lighthouse Management & Media.Howley is represented by CAA and Anonymous Content.

More Film

  • Anti-Gone

    Sundance: 2020 New Frontier Program Features Underwater VR, Chomsky A.I.

    The Sundance Institute revealed the last batch of programming for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival — minus a few last-minute additions to its feature lineup, still to come —  by announcing its New Frontier section, which this time around include not only augmented and virtual reality, but also SMS-based text messaging, biotech and artificial intelligence. [...]

  • Catherine Deneuve'Joker' premiere, 76th Venice Film

    Catherine Deneuve Out of Hospital After Stroke (Report)

    Catherine Deneuve has returned to her Paris home after more than a month in the hospital and at a rest home following a mild stroke, according to French report. The French screen icon was seen out and about by her neighbors in the Saint Germain arrondissement of Paris. Deneuve, 76, had what her family called [...]

  • Alma Harrel Honey Boy

    Hollywood Still Struggles With Parity Behind the Camera

    When Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, was at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, he noticed that many documentaries had been shot by women. But he was also aware of the dismal number of female lensers hired for feature films. “I realized we had to do something,” he says. That [...]

  • Mob Town

    'Mob Town': Film Review

    “Who doesn’t love spaghetti?” asks New York State Trooper Ed Croswell (David Arquette) while on a date with single mother Natalie (Jennifer Esposito) in “Mob Town,” and the answer, according to Danny A. Abeckaser’s film, is no one. The traditional Italian dish figures prominently in this low-rent Mafia tale, which — based on an infamous [...]

  • Code 8

    'Code 8': Film Review

    Essentially a humbler, grungier indie “X-Men” without the same dependence on splashy effects, “Code 8” is a solid genre effort from director Jeff Chan. Spun off from his prior short of the same name, the crowdfunded effort is resourceful and polished on a tight budget. Its fast-paced progress has enough appeal to suggest a possible [...]

  • Cats Movie

    'Cats' Producers Respond to Twitter Trailer Backlash

    The producers of “Cats” have seen the memes and read the mean tweets that greeted the first trailer for the big screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage smash. When the initial teaser was launched this past summer, social media commentators feasted on the way that an A-list cast that includes Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, [...]

  • Carol Titleman dead

    Lucasfilm Exec Carol Titelman Dies at 73

    Carol Wikarska Titelman, director of publications during the early days of Lucasfilm, died on Dec. 7 in her New York apartment. She was 73. Titelman died following complications with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement released on her behalf. Titelman began her career at Lucasfilm answering phones in the months before “Star Wars: Episode IV [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content