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Booksmart Scribe to Direct Film About Russia Interference in 2016 Election

Posted 2019/12/0320

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock these last few years, you know that, yes, Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election that left us stuck with Donald Trump, who is currently being threatened with impeachment as a result of his misconduct while in office. But how do we know this? Did that information just fall out of the sky? No. Someone had to expose that secret, and now that person will be the subject of a new movie from Big Beach, the production company behind this year’s awards hopefuls The Farewell and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Susanna Fogel, who was one of four women who wrote this year’s teen comedy Booksmart, has been set to direct Winner, a biopic about Reality Leigh Winner, a former American intelligence specialist who was the first to expose Russia’s interference. Winner was arrested in 2017 and is currently serving a five-and-a-half year prison sentence, but what she did was an act of courage that helps explain how America got to where it is today, politically speaking.

Kerry Howley wrote the script, having previously penned the 2017 New York Magazine article “Who is Reality Winner?” Dani Melia and Peter Saraf (Little Miss Sunshine) of Big Beach will produce alongside Amanda Phillips, who brought the project in.

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Image via Magnolia Pictures

“We are honored to be bringing Reality Winner’s story to screen from a beautiful screenplay by Kerry Howley,” said Melia. “We have been longtime fans of Susanna Fogel and can think of no one better to capture this complex character through an empathetic and human lens. This is an urgent story that far too few Americans are aware of, and we have assembled the perfect creative team to tell it.”

“Reality Winner is a mouthpiece for a generation of young people who are struggling to square their personal ethics with the crumbling ethics of our country’s institutions, which we want to be proud of and have allegiance to,” added Fogel. “Kerry’s incredible script lays the groundwork for us to approach her timely story with humor and emotion, rather than preaching or partisanship.”

Fogel previously directed the 2014 indie movie Life Partners starring Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, Kate McKinnon and Adam Brody. She also directed the pilots for the upcoming limited series The Flight Attendant and The Wilds. Fogel is represented by UTA and Lighthouse Management, while Howley is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content. Variety broke the news.

And speaking of presidential elections, there’s another one coming up in November, so be sure to get out and vote! The last President to be impeached was Bill Clinton, who will be played by Clive Owen in the next season of American Crime Story. FX boss John Landgraf has said that the show won’t affect the 2020 election, but if you’re curious about the context of that statement, click here.



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