In the past we’ve had dueling Capote movies and asteroid movies, and now we’ve got two projects about ousted former Fox News chief Roger Ailes (hooray?). One’s a Showtime series that stars Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Gretchen Carlson, based on Gabriel Sherman’s book The Loudest Voice in the Room, as well as Sherman’s reporting for us at New York Magazine. The other’s a Jay Roach movie starring Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, with Jonathan Lithgow as Ailes and Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson. Is there division and distrust between the two projects? You bet!
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s report on the Showtime series, the people making it are very much not fans of the movie. The show will premiere June 30, ahead of the December 20 release of the movie “by design,” and while the movie reportedly makes Kelly a central force in a band of women trying to take down Ailes, the show “deemed Kelly so irrelevant to their story, she isn’t a character at all.” Then we get to The Loudest Voice showrunner Alex Metcalf’s quotes about the movie, which begin delightfully: “I’m not trying to trash-talk the movie, but it seems to be predicated on the idea that there was this coterie of women who brought down Roger Ailes, which is a lie.”
“There was Gretchen Carlson, and that was it,” Metcalf continues. “I’m sure the movie will be lovely … [but] we are doing our best to reflect a reality.” Per THR, several others involved in the Showtime series also trashed the Jay Roach movie off the record, questioning “the appeal of a Kelly-centric film after her ignominious exit from NBC amid a blackface scandal in 2018.” Carlson, for her part, also weighed in on the two projects to THR, saying that she was “flattered to have an incredibly talented actress such as Naomi Watts depict my story” in the Showtime series, after previously saying that Nicole Kidman “looks nothing like me” and it’s “hard to see your own story faked” in the Roach movie. We hope Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts’s friendship can survive this mess as it continues to escalate.