DreamWorks Studios and Participant Media have acquired the feature film rights to the story of the Catholic Church's decades-long cover-up of its pedophile priests in Massachusetts as uncovered by a year-long investigation by the Boston Globe, it was announced today by Holly Bario, DreamWorks President of Production, and Jonathan King, Participant Executive Vice President of Production. Thomas McCarthy has signed on to direct and co-write the script with Josh Singer. Anonymous Content's Michael Sugar and Steve Golin and Rocklin/Faust's Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust will produce. David Mizner, who originally brought the project to the producers, will serve as a consultant and associate producer. King and Jeff Skoll will serve as executive producers.
Life rights have been acquired to the Boston Globe's "Spotlight Team" of reporters and editors, including then-Globe editor Marty Baron, special projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr., Spotlight Team editor Walter "Robby" Robinson and reporters Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll. The team spent a year interviewing victims and reviewing thousands of pages of documents and discovered years of cover-up by Catholic Church leadership. Their reporting eventually led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law who had hidden years of serial abuse by other priests and opened the floodgates to other revelations of molestation and cover-ups around the world which still reverberate today. For their efforts, the Globe team won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003 "for its courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church."
Here's what DreamWorks President of Production Holly Bario had to say about the project.
"The Boston Globe's coverage of the Catholic priest scandal opened the door to a bigger story that had worldwide ramifications. The story of how this team of editors and reporters came to uncover the truth will make a dramatic and compelling film, especially with the talents of our director Thomas McCarthy and his co-screenwriter Josh Singer on board."
Executive producer Jonathan King also released the following statement.
"It's great to be back in business once again with our friends at DreamWorks and Anonymous, especially on such a powerful and still-evolving story. We have been eager to do another movie with Thomas McCarthy ever since The Visitor."
This will be the sixth collaboration between DreamWorks and Participant, having previously partnered on Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, the 2011 Academy Award-winning smash The Help, The Kite Runner, The Soloist, and this year's The Fifth Estate. With a focus on real issues that shape our lives, Participant creates social action and advocacy programs to transform the impact of the media experience into individual and community action. Some of their other films include Thomas McCarthy's The Visitor, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night, And Good Luck., Food, Inc., Charlie Wilson's War, Waiting for Superman, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the recent Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, No.
In addition to The Visitor, Thomas McCarthy wrote and directed The Station Agent and Win Win. He was nominated for an Oscar for co-creating the story of Pixar's Up. McCarthy also wrote the screenplay for the Disney film The Million Dollar Arm starring Jon Hamm that begins shooting next month. He is repped by the Gersh Agency and attorney Andrew Hurwitz.
Josh Singer wrote the Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate for DreamWorks, which was directed by Bill Condon and will be released later this year. A veteran TV writer, he has worked on such shows as The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Lie to Me, and Fringe. Singer is repped by WME and Anonymous Content.