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Lionsgate in Talks to Pick up Jay Roach’s Roger Ailes Scandal Film

Project was dropped by Annapurna just two weeks before it was to have started production

A week after Annapurna pulled out of the project, Lionsgate is in talks to pick up Jay Roach’s planned feature film about the Roger Ailes scandal, TheWrap has learned.

The film became a casualty of the ongoing upheavel at Annapurna when it was dropped over budget issues Oct. 9, just two weeks before it was to begin production. Directed by Roach with a screenplay by “The Big Short” writer Charles Randolph, the film had already locked down its main cast, which included Malcolm McDowell as Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch and John Lithgow as Ailes.

Individuals with knowledge of the matter tell TheWrap that Lionsgate’s interest stems from the project’s star-driven cast and pedigree. Alongside McDowell and Lithgow, the film also landed Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, plus Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon and Allison Janney.

Lionsgate declined to comment.

The film was expected to tell the story of the Fox News sexual harassment scandal from the point of view of the women who took on the toxic male culture of Fox News, ultimately leading to Ailes’ downfall.

Ailes resigned from Fox News in 2016 after Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit that resulted in multiple women coming forward with similar claims. At the time, Ailes was considered the mastermind behind the success of Fox News and one of the most powerful men in both media and American politics.

Roach, Randolph and Lighthouse Management and Media’s Margaret Media were all on board to produce.

Deadline first reported on Lionsgate’s interest in the project.