Netflix has revealed it has cast Gillian Anderson to play former BBC news anchor Emily Maitlis in “Scoop,” a film about Prince Andrew’s disastrous “Newsnight” interview in 2019.
The disgraced royal will be played by Rufus Sewell (“Old”) while Billie Piper (“I Hate Suzie”) and Keeley Hawes (“Stonehouse) join as TV producer Sam McAlister, who negotiated and secured the interview, and Andrew’s former private secretary Amanda Thirsk, respectively.
“Scoop” is adapted from McAlister’s book “Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews,” in which she details what happened behind the scenes of the interview, which is widely credited as being the final nail in the coffin of Andrew’s public role. Following its broadcast, in Nov. 2019, he was effectively banned from appearing at public events with the royals (except those where he could appear in a private capacity, such as the funeral of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II last September), stripped of many of his patronages and roles and forbidden from using the honorific “His Royal Highness.”
Emmy and BAFTA winner Philip Martin (“The Crown”) will direct the project while Hilary Salmon and Radford Neville will produce for The Lighthouse and Sanjay Singhal produces for Voltage TV.
“The inside track of the women that broke through the Buckingham Palace establishment to secure the scoop of the decade that led to the catastrophic fall from grace of The Queen’s ‘Favourite son,’” reads the logline. “From navigating Palace vetoes, to breaking through to Prince Andrew’s inner circle, the high stakes negotiations and intensity of rehearsal – to the jaw dropping interview itself.”
In the interview, which Andrew is reported to have believed went well before it was broadcast, the prince sought to clear his name following his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and accusations of sexual assault, which had been made against him by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Guiffre. (The case was later settled out of court).
Instead, British viewers watched in horror as the prince failed to express any remorse for his friendship with Epstein, which continued even after the financier’s conviction, sympathy for the victims or adequate explanation as to why he he continued to associate with him.
“It is beyond my wildest dreams, especially as a first time writer, to end up working with this extraordinary cast, Netflix, and the amazing teams at The Lighthouse and Voltage,” said McAlister. “Watching Billie Piper, one of my favourite actresses, play ‘me’ will be a pinch-myself moment and I’m truly thrilled to be involved in this film.”
Martin adds: “I’m thrilled to be directing this film for Netflix and – together with an extraordinary cast – to be bringing Sam McAlister’s revelatory insider’s account to the screen. Uptempo, immersive and cinematic, I want to put the audience inside the breath-taking sequence of events that led to the interview with Prince Andrew – to tell a story about a search for answers, in a world of speculation and varying recollections. It’s a film about power, privilege and differing perspectives and how – whether in glittering palaces or hi-tech newsrooms – we judge what’s true.”
McAlister’s former “Newsnight” colleague Emily Maitlis is also reportedly working on a screen adaptation of the interview with Blueprint Pictures.