Russell Crowe Will Play Roger Ailes in Showtime"s Limited Series About Fox News
Left, by Karwai Tang/WireImage; right, by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic.
Russell Crowe embraced his funny side in recent films like The Nice Guys and The Mummy, but he’s going very dark for his first major TV role. In an upcoming limited series on Showtime, the actor is set to play former Fox News honcho Roger Ailes.
The series, titled The Loudest Voice in the Room, will be based on Gabriel Sherman’s eponymous book. (Sherman is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair.) The series will run for eight episodes, with Spotlight director Tom McCarthy and Get Out producer Jason Blum set to executive produce; Sherman and McCarthy co-wrote the pilot. So far, additional details are scarce, including a premiere date—although, per Entertainment Weekly, 2019 is looking likely. It’s also unclear which other characters might make their way into the film, but it seems possible that we could soon see casting announcements for Hollywood doppelgängers of former Fox personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Gretchen Carlson.
Ailes was known as the architect behind Fox News, which he ran for two decades starting in 1996, when Rupert Murdoch named him C.E.O. In 2005, Ailes was named chairman of the Fox Television Stations group. In 2016, he was forced to leave the company in disgrace following multiple accusations of sexual harassment—which started with a lawsuit from Carlson, who said Ailes had sexually harassed her. Ailes became an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign after his departure from Fox, and died months later.
Showtime’s own description of the series reads as follows: “To understand the events that led to the rise of Donald Trump, one must understand Ailes. The upcoming limited series takes on that challenge, focusing primarily on the past decade in which Ailes arguably became the Republican Party’s de facto leader, while flashing back to defining events in Ailes’s life, including an initial meeting with Richard Nixon on the set of The Mike Douglas Show that gave birth to Ailes’s political career, and the sexual harassment accusations and settlements that brought his Fox News reign to an end. Told through multiple points of view, the limited series aims to shed light on the psychology that drives the political process from the top down.”
Sherman is also writing a film about Donald Trump’s younger days, titled The Apprentice.
Unsurprisingly, Trump and the right wing have become something of a magnet for Hollywood; Michael Wolff’s bestselling Fire and Fury, a controversial account of life in the Trump White House, is set to become a TV series as well, and this year, moviegoers will also see Christian Bale doing his best Dick Cheney impression in Backseat, a biopic from The Big Short director Adam McKay.
In a statement, Showtime president and C.E.O. David Nevins said that the upcoming Ailes series will draw upon a rich cinematic history: “In many ways, the collision between the media and politics has come to define the world we live in today. We’ve seen this phenomenon depicted on screen as far back as the story of Charles Foster Kane, and it finds contemporary embodiment in the rise and fall of Roger Ailes. With Russell Crowe in the lead role, this limited series promises to be a defining story for this era.”