"Bombshell" is the new drama starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie that's based on real-life accounts from women at Fox News who brought down CEO Roger Ailes amid claims of sexual harassment. To celebrate the movie, which is directed by Jay Roach and opens wide on Dec. 20, 2019, Wonderwall.com is comparing the real-life players and the actors who portray them. Keep reading for more…
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Attorney-turned-journalist Megyn Kelly was a Fox News star for 13 years from 2004 to 2017 and an NBC News television personality from 2017 to 2018. From hosting the afternoon show "American Live" starting in 2010 and covering the U.S. presidential election in 2012 to launching evening program "The Kelly File" in 2013 and questioning then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during a 2015 Republican Party debate, Megyn established herself as an outspoken news star over the years. During her brief tenure with NBC News, Megyn hosted a summer 2017 evening program, "Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly," as well as the third hour of the "Today" show for just over a year starting in September 2017. She was forced to step down and start exit negotiations in late October 2018 after making controversial remarks regarding wearing blackface for Halloween and two months later officially parted ways with the network, reportedly with the $30 million that remained on her contract.
Charlize Theron wore some intricate facial prosthetics to play Megyn Kelly in "Bombshell." The South Africa-born model turned to acting and rose to fame in the late '90s with starring roles in "The Devil's Advocate," "Mighty Joe Young" and "The Cider House Rules" before dazzling critics with her performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the crime drama "Monster." Charlize's work in the Patty Jenkins-directed film resulted in three major awards: an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for best actress. Charlize — who in December 2019 was nominated for a best actress Globe for her performance in "Bombshell" — is also an outspoken activist who in 2007 founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, which is dedicated to helping African youths fight HIV/AIDS (this organization also led to her being named a U.N. Messenger of Peace the following year). In addition to her work with the United Nations, the "Mad Max" actress is also a proud supporter of both women's rights and animal rights.
TV commentator and journalist Gretchen Carlson's career with Fox News began in 2005 when she joined "Fox & Friends" as a co-host — a position she held for eight years before leaving to host her own program, "The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson," from 2013 to 2016. After her Fox News contract came to an end in 2016, Gretchen took legal action against then-CEO Roger Ailes, accusing him of sexual harassment. Her public denunciation of the media mogul's alleged actions resulted in other women stepping forward to claim that they too were sexually harassed by the powerful CEO, who died in 2017. In 2015, Gretchen penned her first book, "Getting Real," which focuses predominantly on the fallout of being Miss America in 1989. Her second book, "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back," hit shelves in 2017 and tells the stories of various women who have experienced sexual misconduct and objectification in the workplace.
Nicole Kidman portrays Gretchen Carlson in 2019's "Bombshell." With iconic roles in flicks including 1992's "Far and Away," 2001's "Moulin Rouge!" (for which she earned her first of four Academy Award nominations) and 2018's "Boy Erased" and "Aquaman," this Australian actress has been gracing our screens for decades. The "Stoker" star won an Oscar for best actress for her work in 2002's "The Hours," in which she plays modernist author Virginia Woolf. In 2017, Nicole landed a starring role as Celeste Wright on the HBO series "Big Little Lies" — a portrayal that earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for best actress. Nicole was appointed a Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF back in 1994 and for UNIFEM in 2006.
Kayla Pospisil isn't a real-life former Fox News correspondent but a character (played by Margot Robbie in "Bombshell") who was inspired by many women. According to Indiewire, "Bombshell" director Jay Roach revealed that Kayla is an embodiment of the real-life women who dealt with Roger Ailes. "We had an obligation to really capture it authentically," he shared. "One of the things that I have done in my other contemporary history films is go deep into actually interviewing real people, not just for authenticity… but also in details you get." In the film, Kayla Pospisil is an ambitious new hire who is exploited by the Fox News CEO after he hears of her goal to be promoted to news anchor. Jay also revealed that some of the subjects he interviewed to inform the character violated non-disclosure agreements in order to share their experiences.
Margot Robbie rose to fame after landing her breakout movie role in Martin Scorsese's 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street," in which she appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Since then, Margot has landed starring roles in hit films including "Focus," "The Legend of Tarzan" and "Suicide Squad," in which she played Harley Quinn (a role she'll reprise in the 2020 DC flick "Birds of Prey.") The Australian screen stealer also received critical praise (and a best actress Academy Award nod) for her portrayal of disparaged former figure skater Tonya Harding in 2017's "I, Tonya." In 2019, Margot portrayed actress Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino's buzzed-about film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" — a role that earned her a BAFTA Award for best supporting actress. When she's not lighting up the screen, the "Mary Queen of Scots" star is busy producing major projects — which next include "Birds of Prey," "Promising Young Woman" and the "Barbie" live-action film — through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner.
In "Bombshell," Kate McKinnon plays Jess Carr, a show producer who befriends newcomer Kayla Pospisil (like Kayla, Jess is a fictionalized character). In an interview clip shared by Fab TV, Kate discusses her role in more depth, calling Jess a "closeted liberal and a closeted gay woman as well," she explained, adding, "because according to first-hand accounts, it's not — you wouldn't want to be open about being either one of those at Fox News." To date, Kate — who's starred on "Saturday Night Live" since 2012 — has won two Emmys for outstanding supporting actress on a comedy series for her work on the NBC show.
Roger Ailes was the CEO and chairman of Fox News. He's credited with building the network into the empire that it is today during his CEO tenure from 1996 to 2016. In July 2016, he found himself at the center of media scrutiny and controversy when sexual harassment allegations from former Fox News employees were made against him. After Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him that year, more women stepped forward to share their own allegations — which resulted in his formal resignation on July 21, 2016. Fox gave him $40M as part of an exit agreement and publicly thanked him for his work at the company without addressing the allegations. He died less than a year later in May 2017.
John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes in "Bombshell." A celebrated name in Hollywood, John has been nominated for two Academy Awards and four Grammys (for his children's albums). The New York-born actor is perhaps best known for his roles on television shows like "3rd Rock from the Sun," "Dexter" and "The Crown." His portrayals in those three series alone garnered him two Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actor Guilds Awards and five Primetime Emmys. The "Terms of Endearment" actor is also an acclaimed Broadway performer with two Tony Awards to his name for his work in 2002's "Sweet Smell of Success" and 1973's "The Changing Room."
Elizabeth "Beth" Ailes was the wife of former Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes. The two met in the workplace when Beth was a director of programming at CNBC and wed in 1998. Despite remaining mum during the scandal, Elizabeth supported her husband amidst the sexual misconduct allegations and until his death in 2017 — though they were reportedly living separately during that time.
Connie Britton plays Beth Ailes in "Bombshell." She first graced our screens in the 1995 dramedy "The Brothers McMullen" and has since gone on to craft a fruitful career. Among her most notable projects are the 2004 sports drama "Friday Night Lights," a film which spawned the NBC drama series of the same name in 2006, on which Connie also starred, this time as Coach Taylor's wife, Tami. Her work as the compassionate, well-intentioned wife and mother garnered acclaim from critics as well as two Emmy Awards for best actress. Connie went on to star as country singer Rayna Jaymes on the musical series "Nashville," which resulted in further praise: She received an Emmy nomination for best actress and a Golden Globe Award for her work on the beloved show. In 2018, she starred on the FOX procedural "9-1-1," reprised her role on "American Horror Story" and starred on the true-crime series "Dirty John" –a portrayal that also garnered her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a miniseries or TV film.
Rupert Murdoch is the founder of News Corp. who became the acting CEO of Fox News in 2016 after Roger Ailes resigned. The Australia-born mogul has an estimated net worth of $19.6 billion and a media empire that includes The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and Fox News. He's often been compared to William Randolph Hearst, who's considered to have founded tabloid-style journalism.
Malcolm McDowell plays media mogul Rupert Murdoch in "Bombshell." The actor has starred in a variety of notable films including 1971's "A Clockwork Orange," 1979's "Caligula," 1982's "Cat People" and 1994's "Star Trek Generations." In addition to his film appearances, the "Britannia Hospital" actor has also appeared on television series like "Entourage," "The Mentalist" and "Franklin & Bash."
Susan Estrich was a defense attorney for Roger Ailes in 2016. The University of Southern California Gould School of Law professor was criticized by many for defending the late Fox News CEO when he was accused of sexual harassment by a number of women.
Allison Janney appears in "Bombshell" as attorney Susan Estrich. The "Mom" and "The West Wing" actress has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards as well as one Academy Award and one Golden Globe, both for her work in "I, Tonya" — a film she starred in alongside fellow "Bombshell" actress Margot Robbie. The "Juno" star will next appear alongside Mila Kunis and Regina Hall in Tate Taylor's 2020 film "Breaking News in Yuba County."
Douglas Brunt is the husband of former Fox News star Megyn Kelly. He's the former CEO of cybersecurity company Authentium and has since become a novelist. His first book, "Ghosts of Manhattan," hit shelves in 2012.
Mark Duplass plays Megyn Kelly's second husband, Douglas Brunt, in "Bombshell." Though perhaps best known for his portrayal of Peter Eckhart on the comedy series "The League," Mark has also appeared in various films and television series including "The Morning Show," "The Lazarus Effect," "The Mindy Project" and "Big Mouth." He and brother Jay Duplass, who are both synonymous with the Mumblecore indie film genre, in 1996 founded Duplass Brothers Productions. Mark's produced dozens of projects including the films "Adult Beginners" and "The Skeleton Twins." He's also the talented writer behind many films including "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" and "Paddleton" as well as TV shows like "Togetherness" and "Room 104."
Jeanine Pirro gained notoriety for defending Roger Ailes amidst the sexual harassment allegations lodged against him in 2016. She is a former judge-turned-television personality who currently hosts of "Justice with Judge Jeanine" on Fox News. The TV host has become known for her unyielding support of President Donald Trump, having penned the 2018 book "Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy."
In "Bombshell," Alanna Ubach plays controversial judge-turned-TV host Jeanine Pirro. She's perhaps best known for her role as Elle Woods' spunky sorority sister in the beloved 2003 film "Legally Blonde." The "Meet the Fockers" alum is also an accomplished voice actor who's brought characters to life on shows including "The Spectacular Spider-Man," "Rango" and "Beakman's World." Alanna also voiced Mama Imelda in the critically acclaimed 2017 Pixar animated film "Coco."