Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts has joined the cast of the upcoming Showtime eight-episode limited series “The Loudest Voice in the Room” based on Gabriel Sherman’s book of the same name.
Watts will take on the role of journalist Gretchen Carlson, the first woman to file a sexual harassment suit against Fox News founder Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe).
The story will focus on the last decade of Ailes’ life while also flashing back to key moments in his career, including his meeting with Richard Nixon on The Mike Douglas Show as well as the sexual harassment accusations that would lead to his downfall.
The series will be told through multiple viewpoints and aims to shed light on the psychology of Ailes and how the political process influenced him so much in his career.
Tom McCarthy and Jason Blum will produce with McCarthy and Sherman penning the first episode. Filming begins next month.
A new feature piece for THR has gone online showing off photos of the cast of Showtime’s new series “The Loudest Voice” which details the rise and fall of Fox News chief and abusive news pioneer Roger Ailes.
The photos show a near unrecognizable Russell Crowe as Ailes alongside Naomi Watts as Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, Sienna Miller as Ailes’ wife Elizabeth, Annabelle Wallis as loyal executive Laurie Luhn, Seth MacFarlane as PR advisor Brian Lewis, Simon McBurney as media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Josh Stamberg as Fox News producer Bill Shine, and Patch Darragh as Fox News presenter Sean Hannity.
Crowe spent between 2.5-6 hours per day in the make-up chair to become Ailes for the seven episode event series which will explore how Ailes “rose to power as a master of news as provocative stagecraft”. Along the way he “trounced his rivals and happily fed partisan acrimony” which led to the fractured, heavily polarised and aggressively politicised times we now live in.
The series is based on journalist Gabriel Sherman’s 2014 book “The Loudest Voice in the Room” and begins in the mid-1990s when Ailes hatched his plan for a conservative competitor to CNN and MSNBC.
Series’ showrunner Alex Metcalf says: “Roger’s one of those larger-than-life American figures who has so profoundly influenced our country in ways that most people don’t understand. Without Roger Ailes, there may be no tea party. And without Roger Ailes, there is definitely no Donald Trump.”
“The Loudest Voice” will premiere June 30th on Showtime and comes a full half year ahead of Jay Roach’s film “Fair and Balanced” which focuses primarily on Ailes’ downfall. The central focus of that film’s story is on Megyn Kelly and the other women whose allegations of sexual harassment ultimately sunk the Fox News founder. Showing how different the projects are, Kelly reportedly isn’t a character at all in the Showtime series.
Amongst other facts gleaned from the article is that filmmaker Michael Mann, who was initially attached to direct the pilot, was the one who suggested Seth MacFarlane for the Brian Lewis role. “Spotlight” writer Tom McCarthy and horror producer Jason Blum were key players in the project’s making, and the death of Ailes in May 2017 allowed the writers a freedom they hadn’t anticipated to tell a more complete story without fear of lawsuit.