Scientology Filmmaker Alex Gibney Prepping Roger Ailes Doc (Exclusive)
The 'Going Clear' director's independent project comes on the heels of Annapurna Pictures scooping up a pitch from 'Big Short' writer Charles Randolph about the women who brought down the former Fox News chairman with accusations of sexual harassment.
More of Roger Ailes is heading to the big screen.
Alex Gibney quietly has been prepping a documentary about the former Fox News chairman, who exited in the summer amid sexual assault claims from women including anchors Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Gibney (UTA) confirms the film's existence but declines to elaborate. "As a matter of course, I don't talk about what I'm working on," he tells THR.
The move comes just two months after Annapurna Pictures nabbed an untitled pitch from The Big Short's Charles Randolph about the women who brought down the man once considered the most powerful in media, as well as Ailes' wife, Elizabeth Tilson.
At THR's Women in Entertainment event in December, Kelly praised the Fox News women "who, with their stilettos and nerves of steel, formed an underground army and, at great risk to their livelihoods, brought down a very powerful serial sexual harasser." Whether Gibney's film focuses on that aspect of Ailes or his political influence, the doc is likely to spark controversy. But the filmmaker is no stranger to hot-button topics, having exposed U.S. torture in Afghanistan in 2007's Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side and confronted the Church of Scientology with 2015's Going Clear — another project he prepped stealthily.
Though Gibney works frequently with HBO, he does not do so exclusively. The Ailes doc is being developed independently and currently is not set up. Gibney's most recent documentary, Zero Days, which was on the Oscar short list this year, was produced by Participant Media and aired on Showtime.
Also in the works is a miniseries based on reporting by journalist Gabriel Sherman, whose Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room will serve as source material. That project, from Blumhouse Television, also promises to delve into the newsman's alleged misconduct.
This story first appeared in the Feb. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.