Bombshell starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie tells the true story of Megyn Kelly (Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Kidman) and other female Fox News employees and the allegations that led to Roger Ailes’ (John Lithgow) resignation.
According to Indie Wire, in order to tell the true story, director Jay Roach interviewed a number of people involved in the scandal.
Speaking at a Q&A after the first early screening of Bombshell, Roach said, “We had an obligation to really capture it authentically.”
“One of the things 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.”
As a result of these interviews, he and writer Charles Randolph were able to create fictional character Kayla Pospisil, a Fox News newcomer played by Robbie who is exploited by Ailes.
The interviews with former Fox News employees found that Ailes would often ask for the female journalists to “stand up and give me a twirl”, something he would claim was appropriate as they’d be appearing on “a visual medium”.
In the film, this ends with Kayla being forced to lift up her dress more and more as a heavily breathing Ailes instructs her to until her underwear is exposed.
Kayla might not exist, but her experiences certainly reflect those of the people who were interviewed by Roach and Randolph. By sharing these details with the filmmakers, some of them were violating non-disclosure agreements, which is why Roach is keeping tight-lipped about who he spoke to.
“We’re not revealing the people we talk to. We’re trying to protect them,” Roach said. “We had heard that the Murdochs were responsible for giving Megyn the names of the women who had reported over the decades… we talked to some real people. What really happened was it was the weather lady who was still working at Fox when we started the movie and was undercover, almost like a whistleblower. But [Janice Dean] slipped the names to Megyn and Megyn did help get them to come forward.”
No doubt it must have been really tough for those women to share their stories if it involved violated their NDAs.
Robbie also spoke about how real Kayla felt to her despite not actually being a real person, “Usually, it starts with the character, but for this one it started with the script. It started with the content and the messaging and what the film was trying to achieve that I appreciated so much and knew I wanted to be a part of,” she said.
“I never expected to go on such a journey with [Kayla]. She’s so incredibly real to me… It was an incredible privilege to get to tell those women’s story through her.”
Bombshell is set for release in January 2020.