The events surrounding Prince Andrew’s damning 2019 BBC Newsnight interview will be made into a movie.
Written by “The Night Of” and “Criminal Justice” writer Peter Moffat, “Scoop” will begin production later this year.
The feature film will be produced by “61st Street” producers The Lighthouse Film & TV, which was launched in 2020 by Hilary Salmon, Radford Neville and Nick Betts – the BBC team behind “Luther,” “Criminal Justice,” “House of Saddam,” “Three Girls” and “The Night Of.” Voltage TV will be co-producers on the film.
The pic is based on key chapters in the candid new book “Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews” by former Newsnight producer Sam McAlister.
These chapters tell the story of how Newsnight journalists secured the interview with the royal, which was expertly conducted by former presenter Emily Maitlis, who recently left the program after 20 years at the BBC. The film is billed as the “inside track” that spans a first failed approach to Buckingham Palace, the high stakes negotiations with Prince Andrew and his team, the stress and pressure of rehearsal, the interview itself and ultimately the shocking aftermath.
Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview — in which he was quizzed at length about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and about allegations that he himself slept with teenager Virginia Giuffre — is widely regarded as the harbinger that led to the royal’s epic fall from grace, and exit from royal duties.
Most commentators deemed the interview a huge PR disaster for the prince, who was roundly criticized for not showing any sympathy for Epstein’s victims or adequately explaining why he associated with him after the disgraced financier’s release from prison, spending time with him and staying at his Manhattan home.
The royal, who served a stint as a U.K. trade envoy, said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, who taught him about trade and business.
Prince Andrew reached an out of court settlement in his sex assault case, brought against the prince by Giuffre, in February.
Moffat said: “What the hell did he think he was doing? Who got him to do it? Why, when the rest of the world was so appalled, did he think it had gone so well? What kind of a man is this? In researching the film and talking to those on the inside of this extraordinary story I got the answers to all these questions. They’re provoking, often surprising, sometimes disturbing – and I think they make for a compelling story about power and abuse and journalistic courage.”
Executive producer Salmon added: “Sam’s book vividly chronicles the moment to moment drama that led to that most revealing and jaw-dropping of TV events. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Sam’s story to life.”
McAlister, author of “Scoops,” said: “To have a production team of the calibre of The Lighthouse and a writer like Peter Moffat making a feature film is beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t wait to see Peter and The Lighthouse bring this extraordinary story to the screen.”
McAlister is represented by Jen Thomas at United Agents, who handled the film rights. “Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews” is released on Thursday, and published by Oneworld.