Robert Redford Gets Political Again as Dan Rather in 'Truth' Drama
As a filmmaker, Robert Redford has never strayed from personal politics, whether it's his early work like All the President's Men or The Candidate or more recent films like Lions for Lambs or The Company You Keep. Now after staying quiet in last year's All is Lost, he'll be diving back into a political topics with Truth, an adaptation of Mary Mapes' memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power. For those not familiar, the film will dig into the scandal that followed a controversial report by veteran CBS News anchor Dan Rather on "60 Minutes II" that former President George W. Bush received preferential treatment that placed him in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft. More below!
The scandal comes from the fact that following the report, Mapes (a CBS News producer) and anchorman Rather were fired, all during Bush's campaign to get reelected to another term in the White House. The two found their reputations sullied following the scandal, and the synopsis of the book explains more:
It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down and get on the air. And that’s just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September, 2004, when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush’s dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News. The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes’ well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented "internal inquiry" into the story—chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.
"Truth and Duty' is Mapes’ account of the often-surreal, always-harrowing fallout she experienced for raising questions about a powerful sitting president. It goes back to examine Bush’s political roots as governor of Texas and answers questions about the solidity of the documents at the heart of the National Guard story as well as where they came from. Her book takes readers not just into the newsroom where coverage decisions are made, but out into the field where the real reporting is done. "Truth and Duty" is peopled with a colorful and vigorous cast of characters—from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone, Bill Burkett to Dan Rather—and moves from small-town rural Texas to the deserts of Afghanistan, from hurricane season in Florida to CBS corporate headquarters Black Rock in New York City.
Deadline reports The Amazing Spider-Man and White House Down writer James Vanderbilt will write the film and is also making his directorial debut on the feature that will have Redford playing Dan Rather. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett is on board to play Mary Mapes. Production is hoped to begin this fall with the project being fasttracked, but still needing a studio home. This doesn't sound like the most objective look at the headline-making subject matter, but it will certainly be a provoking drama that will get all the cable news networks in an uproar on one side or the other. Thoughts?