Fox News chief Roger Ailes will be played by Tony and Emmy award winning actor John Lithgow in the upcoming Fox News Movie. The film is currently untitled, but it will focus on the sexual harassment scandal that ended Ailes' long career. 21st Century Fox has paid $45 million in settlements related to sexual harassment cases against Ailes, with some settlements even completed after his death.
Nicole Kidman plays Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News anchor who sued Ailes for harassment, while Charlize Theron portrays Megyn Kelly, who also came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the former Fox News chief.
John Lithgow is the latest award winning actor to join the cast of the untitled Fox News movie. In addition to Lithgow, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron, the film also stars Margot Robbie, who is reportedly playing a fictional associate producer for the network. The movie was written by Academy Award winner Charles Randolph and is directed by Jay Roach. Lithgow recently earned an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Netflix's The Crown. The actor has a reputation for making audiences feel empathy towards his villains, so it will be interesting to see what he does with his Roger Ailes role.
Roger Ailes started his career in television before leaving to be a political consultant for Richard Nixon in the late 1960s. Ailes was responsible for making Nixon seem more likeable while framing key national campaign issues. Ailes later went on to work his magic with Republican president Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as well. Ailes was credited with the "Orchestra Pit Theory," which started banking off of sensationalism in the news, taking away from the real issues, insinuating that people will remember who falls in the orchestra pit as opposed to the straight man talking about the issues.
Roger Ailes took his "Orchestra Pit Theory" over to Fox News and was later credited for telling George W. Bush to announce the harshest measures possible after the terror attack on 9/11. Throughout his career, Ailes was known for bringing controversy into the world, further dividing the American public. In 2014, the sexual misconduct allegations started to come out publicly, some dating as far back as the early 1980s. Multiple women came forward, including Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Ailes was later forced to resign after collecting $40 million on his way out.
On May 18th, 2017, Roger Ailes passed away. He died shortly after falling and hitting his head at the age of 76. While not much is clear about the untitled Fox News movie, it's abundantly clear that Roger Ailes will not be painted as a good guy, though John Lithgow's acting talents may make audiences feel some empathy for the character. The film will take aim at the later years of Ailes' career, right when all of the sexual misconduct scandals started to become public news. This report was first revealed by Variety.