In what could potentially be a big get, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American distribution rights to Truth, a new fact-based drama starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. The film focuses on the controversial reports by newsman Dan Rather concerning the military record of George W. Bush during the then-President’s bid for re-election in 2004. The film was written and directed by James Vanderbilt and is based on Mary Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, The President and the Privilege of Power. Sony Classics acquired the title for $6 million.
In the film, Redford portrays veteran CBS news anchor Dan Rather, and Blanchett plays Mapes, a news producer. The duo became embroiled in what was described as “Rathergate” when Rather reported allegations that Bush was given special treatment during the Vietnam War and instead given a cushy post in the National Guard thanks to the clout of his father, the first President Bush. Rather and Mapes relied on documents that came from a retired lieutenant with the Texas Army National Guard, documents some speculated may have been forgeries. This created a firestorm from conservative critics and plagued the reputations of both Mapes and Rather, leading to her eventual firing from CBS News and his resignation. Based on subject, pedigree, and the intertwining of politics and journalism, Truth appears to echo films like Michael Mann’s The Insider (1999) and George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – both films that received multiple Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture (Good Night,and Good Luck).
As a screenwriter, Vanderbilt has a varied résumé that includes genre films like The Losers (2010) and White House Down (2013), superhero movies like both The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), as well as the upcoming Independence Day 2. Vanderbilt also wrote David Fincher’s critically acclaimed crime drama Zodiac (2007), which focused on the ’70s-era Zodiac serial killer. Truth marks Vanderbilt’s debut as a director. The film also stars Elisabeth Moss (TV’s Mad Men), Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven), Topher Grace (Interstellar), and Bruce Greenwood (Super 8).Sony Classics hasn’t set a release date yet, however the film could likely surface for an awards run later this year. The pick-up comes on the heels of the ongoing Cannes Film Festival where Sony Classics has recently acquired in-competition titles Our Little Sister (from director Hirokazu Koreeda) and Son of Saul (from director Laszlo Nemes). Oscar-winner and Sundance legend Redford was last seen onscreen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will next appear in the comedy A Walk in the Woods. Blanchett previously appeared in the spring blockbuster Cinderella and is currently garnering rave reviews for her performance in Todd Haynes’ period romance Carol, a new film that just premiered at Cannes and will be released later this year from The Weinstein Company.