Roger Ailes Movie: See the Actors and Their Fox News Counterparts

10:29 AM 10/3/2018

by Christi Carras

John Lithgow, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon are among the untitled film's A-list cast.

Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron
Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron
Getty Images (3)

Annapurna has all but assembled its cast of media players for its upcoming film about the women of Fox News who took a stand against the network's toxic male culture and its late chairman Roger Ailes. 

Charlize Theron, who has also signed on to produce the feature directed by Jay Roach, was the first to join the cast as former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. A stream of A-list talent has since followed, including The Crown's John Lithgow as Ailes and Nicole Kidman as former news anchor Gretchen Carlson.

As chairman of the network, Ailes helped launch the careers of Kelly and Carlson. But as several reports of Ailes' sexual misconduct toward Kelly, Carlson and more surfaced, the powerful media mogul was forced to resign in 2016. The film, written by The Big Short's Charles Randolph, will explore the scandal, with more actors stepping into the roles of Fox News' key players, such as Susan Estrich, Rupert Murdoch and Greta Van Susteren.

Read on for more about the cast and who they are playing (this will be updated as more cast is announced).

  • John Lithgow, playing Roger Ailes

    Mike Marsland/WireImage; Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

    Fresh off his award-winning stint as Winston Churchill in Netflix's The Crown, Lithgow has signed on to portray the disgraced late former chairman of Fox News. During his time at the network's helm, Ailes made stars out of network personalities like Kelly, Carlson and Sean Hannity and was also extremely influential in Republican politics. But his reputation was compromised when more than six women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Before he takes on Ailes, Lithgow can be seen in the 2019 adaption of Stephen King's Pet Cemetary and Late Night, written by Mindy Kaling.

  • Nicole Kidman, playing Gretchen Carlson

    Getty Images (2)

    Kidman is leading the charge as one of the first women to accuse Ailes of sexual misconduct. The former anchor filed a lawsuit against Ailes in 2016 claiming that the network fired her in retaliation for refusing Ailes' advances. Before exiting Fox, Carlson co-hosted Fox & Friends along with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. Kidman is also set to star in another Annapurna pic, Destroyer, later this year. More of the Oscar-winning actress' upcoming projects include DC's Aquaman and Joel Edgerton's Boy Erased.

  • Charlize Theron, playing Megyn Kelly

    Vera Anderson/WireImage; Steve Mack/Getty Images

    Playing Kelly in the Ailes biopic will be Theron's latest turn in a wave of feminist projects, including the spy thriller Atomic Blonde and the motherhood comedy Tully. As reports of Ailes' sexual misconduct began flooding in, Fox News reportedly pressured Kelly to speak out on his behalf. Instead, Kelly came forward with her own allegations of unwanted sexual advances from Ailes, becoming one of his most prominent accusers. The former lawyer worked at the network for more than a decade, eventually hosting her own hit show, The Kelly Files. She now helms Megyn Kelly Today on NBC. Theron can next be seen in the Jonathan Levine comedy Flarsky, alongside Seth Rogen, Alexander Skarsgard, Randall Park and Andy Serkis.

  • Allison Janney, playing Susan Estrich

    Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic; Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Janney is on a hot streak when it comes to portraying real women, coming off her 2018 supporting actress Oscar win for playing Tonya Harding's mother, LaVona, in I, Tonya. In the untitled Fox News film, the actress will take on the role of Ailes' attorney, Susan Estrich, who defended the media mogul against incoming harassment charges. Janney recently received her third consecutive Emmy nomination for her work in the CBS sitcom Mom, and her next film appearance will be in Bert and Bertie's Troupe Zero.

  • Margot Robbie

    Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

    The second I, Tonya alumna to join the cast, Robbie is set to play an associate producer at Fox News. The Wolf of Wall Street breakout has multiple projects in the works, such as the period drama Mary Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan, as well as many films in which she'll reprise her role as the villainous Harley Quinn, including The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Birds of Prey and an untitled project featuring Quinn and the Joker. She is also set to reunite with Leonardo DiCaprio for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

  • Kate McKinnon

    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    In September, the Saturday Night Live star became the latest to join the cast as a producer at Fox News. Her role is reportedly not based on a real person. Currently, McKinnon can still be seen on SNL, while her last film role was in the summer comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me alongside Mila Kunis. 

  • Malcolm McDowell, playing Rupert Murdoch

    Malcolm McDowell and Rupert Murdoch
    Malcolm McDowell and Rupert Murdoch
    Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images; Taylor Hill/WireImage

    McDowell will take the helm as News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who hired Ailes as Fox News chairman and has built his own reputation for political involvement. Murdoch later stepped in as Fox News CEO after Ailes' controversial exit from the media company. Most recently, McDowell lent his voice to Disney's Star Wars Rebels series and starred in the fourth season of Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle

  • Alanna Ubach as Jeanine Pirro

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    The Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce actress will portray the former Republican politician turned Fox News anchor. After a short run against Hillary Clinton for the Republican United States Senate seat, Pirro later became the host of Fox News' Justice with Judge Jeanine in 2011. Ubach is also set to star alongside Zendaya in HBO's upcoming substance drama Euphoria in 2019.