Click here to listen to the interview.
When I spoke to Jay Roach on December 6, 2019, I wanted to know why he had been tempted to, as I put it, poke the bear by taking on one of the most embarrassing moments in Fox News history. In taking on the story of how Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment suit took down Fox New creator Roger Ailes, he was provoking a network that still wields a great deal of power. I save that question for the end, though.
We started with how he cleverly injected some black humor into what is essentially a very serious story; how a scene depicting sexual harassment isn’t about sex, and the toxic groupthink at Fox News.
We went on to talk about Ailes’ insidious way of dealing with nonconformists; why being a male of the species didn’t stand in the way of being hired to direct by co-star and co-producer Charlize Theron; how his paradigm shifted while making the film; and how to tell a story when so much of it is wrapped up in NDAs.
We finished up with the name he couldn’t say in the movie (but can here) as well as the book she wrote, Mostly Sunny, and how John Lithgow as Roger Ailes is the a nuanced monster.
The film co-stars Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Stephen Root, and Malcolm McDowell. Roach’s previous work includes TRUMBO, for which Brian Cranston was nominated for an Oscar in the eponymous role.