“The Big Lie,” premiering June 16 on Audible, stars Jon Hamm as FBI special agent Jack Bergin, who sets out to shut down production of “Salt of the Earth” — the only movie named to the so-called Hollywood Blacklist — after he becomes convinced that it’s really a recruiting tool for the Communist Party. The seven-episode “The Big Lie” will premiere exclusively on Audible, available at this link.
“I don’t want to see somebody get killed over this movie,” Hamm’s FBI agent says threateningly in the series trailer, which was just released by Audible.
“The Big Lie” also stars Kate Mara, Ana de la Reguera, John Slattery, Bradley Whitford, Lisa Edelstein, Giancarlo Esposito and David Strathairn, alongside Raymond Cruz, Troy Evans, Kirk Baltz, John Getz and Lela Loren. It’s a production of Audible and podcast studio Fresh Produce Media.
Listen to the trailer for “The Big Lie”:
The series is created by executive producer John Mankiewicz (“House of Cards,” “Bosch”) from a story by “Salt of the Earth” producer Paul Jarrico, co-written by Jamie Napoli and directed by Aaron Lipstadt (“Bosch,” “Elementary,” “Medium”). Hamm also executive produces.
Spoiler alert: The U.S. government and a hostile Hollywood studio system failed to derail “Salt of the Earth,” which was released in 1954 and dramatized the filmmakers’ pro-labor, pro-feminist beliefs. The film was denounced on the floor of Congress, and the cast and crew risked their lives to produce it — confronted with riots, shootings and arson.
Mankiewicz is the grandson of Herman J. Mankiewicz, who co-wrote the screenplay for “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles and was the subject of David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated “Mank” for Netflix. “The Big Lie” had been a passion project for John Mankiewicz for more than two decades, and he ultimately decided it would be his first project in audio.
In a statement, Mankiewicz said, “Because this was such an important story of a dark, complicated time in a divided America, I’ve always felt I owed it to Paul Jarrico and all the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist to get it told in the best possible way. Audio was the perfect medium to bring ‘The Big Lie’ to life, and Fresh Produce Media and Audible were the perfect team.”
Hamm said that when Mankiewicz and director Aaron Lipstadt approached him with the idea for “The Big Lie,” “it was an automatic ‘yes.'”
“Exploring the consequences of what happens when governments try to quiet the voices of the people — especially working people — is a theme that resonates with me deeply in 2022, so getting to both act in and executive produce this series was very rewarding,” Hamm said. “And getting to tell this story over audio, in a format that mirrors the way audiences might have actually heard it over the radio in the 1950s, made it all the more authentic.”
“The Big Lie” features an original score by composer David Mansfield (“Heaven’s Gate,” “TransAmerica,” “Broken Trail”) with a 1950s soundscape created by sound designers Joshua Paul Johnson (“Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” “Jane”) and Peter Bawiec (“Modern Family,” “Midway”) and podcast producer Matt Schrader (“Blockbuster”).
Other Audible Originals include “The Coldest Case” from James Patterson, performed by Aaron Paul, Krysten Ritter and Nathalie Emmanuel; best-selling fantasy podcast series “The Sandman” from Neil Gaiman, starring James McAvoy; Keegan-Michael Key’s “The History of Sketch Comedy”; “Killing Hollywood: The Cotton Club Murders,” performed by Rainn Wilson, Christian Slater and Juliette Lewis, and “The Miranda Obsession,” executive produced and starring Rachel Brosnahan.