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First, there was a miniseries in the works about Roger Ailes‘ alleged sexual misconduct. Now, there’s a film on the fast track at Annapurna Pictures as well, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Megan Ellison’s studio has scooped up a pitch from The Big Short‘s Charles Randolph about the former Fox News chairman. Randolph, who won an Oscar in February for co-writing with Adam McKay the chronicle of the financial crisis of the mid-2000s, is writing the project that will focus on Megyn Kelly and the women who brought down the man once considered the most powerful in media with accusations of sexual harassment, as well as the wife, Elizabeth Tilson, who propped him up.
The pitch began making the rounds this week, and it immediately became a hot commodity before Annapurna struck for the headline-generating material. But there were some buyers who expressed concerns that there were no life rights attached to the project. Still, there’s a wealth of information in the public domain about the case. Kelly, the Fox News star, continues to reference Ailes‘ behavior that she experienced earlier in her career. This week, she told the crowd at THR’s Women in Entertainment breakfast this week: “The women of Fox News who, with their stiletto shoes and nerves of steel, formed an underground army of sorts, and at great risk to their livelihoods, brought down a very powerful serial sexual harasser.”
Kelly, who joined Fox News in 2004, told Fox this summer that she had been subject to sexual harassment at the hands of Ailes, in the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s similar accusations. Two days after the Kelly reports surfaced, Ailes resigned from Fox News and his lawyer, Susan Estrich, publicly denied the charge. In her new memoir, Settle for More, Kelly gave a detailed an account of the sexual harassment she allegedly endured at the hands of Ailes, including in incident where he tried to grab her repeatedly and kiss her on the lips.
Margaret Riley and Randolph will produce the untitled film alongside Ellison.
The project follows in the footsteps of a TV project based on reporting by journalist Gabriel Sherman, who chronicled Ailes‘ exit from Fox News this past summer following sexual harassment allegations from several women, most notably former anchor Carlson. Sherman’s book, The Loudest Voice in the Room, will serve as source material for the series, as will Sherman’s reporting on Ailes for New York magazine, where Sherman is national affairs editor.
Sherman will co-executive produce the project with his wife, journalist Jennifer Stahl, and Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) will shepherd and also exec produce. Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Television will finance, produce and package the series.
Randolph is repped by CAA, Lighthouse Management & Media and attorney Craig Emanuel.
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