Ailes, who is played by Crowe in the TV series and by John Lithgow in the movie, resigned under pressure from Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James in July 2016 – and pocketed $US40million in severance money for his trouble.
Carlson also settled before her case went to court, receiving a payout of $US20 million (Fox’s hand was forced by the fact she had secretly recorded Ailes’ comments on her phone over many months).
But, as part of that deal, she also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prevented her from discussing the details of what had happened to her – which understandably makes telling her story with absolute accuracy a little challenging.
“They’re both amazing actresses,” Carlson said to fellow TV journalist Katie Couric recently, in reference to Watts and Kidman. “I have great respect for both of them. I know that they have both put in a tremendous amount of research to play my character – because I can’t tell them anything about it … they’re handcuffed [by the NDA]. It does a disservice to them, because they don’t have the ability to truly get to know me and what happened.”
Carlson, who is involved in efforts to have NDAs in sexual harassment cases deemed illegal, was initially critical of Kidman’s casting. “This looks nothing like me and the script I’ve seen makes other people out to be heroes unjustifiably,” she tweeted in December 2018, in a post that has since been deleted. “Hard to see your own story faked.”
She was presumably railing against Bombshell’s focus on fellow Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly (Theron), who is the central figure in the film but virtually non-existent in The Loudest Voice.
The series’ showrunner Alex Metcalf was more direct in his criticism last April. “I’m not trying to trash-talk the movie but it seems to be predicated on the idea that there was this coterie of women who brought down Roger Ailes, which is a lie,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “There was Gretchen Carlson, and that was it. I’m sure the movie will be lovely … [but] we are doing our best to reflect a reality.”
At any rate, Carlson appears to have given the Watts treatment her seal of approval – the pair have become friends since meeting at the show’s premiere – while Kidman has revealed she took the role on the advice of Meryl Streep, after receiving the offer while filming season two of Big Little Lies – for which both actresses have received Golden Globe nominations.
Asked why she told Kidman she should do it, Streep said: “That’s a no-brainer; what a great part.”
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she added it was “an important story to tell” because “more than half our nation gets its news from this dubious source”.
The Golden Globes will be screened live on Foxtel’s Arena on Monday, January 6, from midday. The red carpet and awards will be live blogged by this masthead from 10am (AEST). Bombshell is in cinemas from January 16. The Loudest Voice is on Stan.
The Australian connections at the Golden Globes
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for The Loudest Voice
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Bombshell
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series, Drama for Big Little Lies season 2
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for Unbelievable
Nominated for Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. The miniseries was created by Australians Luke Davies and David Michod, though bizarrely neither appears to have been named among the eligible producers
And let’s not forget our friends from New Zealand
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture for The Two Popes
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for Jojo Rabbit (Waititi is director, co-writer and co-producer)
Karl Quinn is a senior culture writer at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.