Charlize Theron Opens up About Playing Megyn Kelly Amid NBC Fallout

Charlize Theron opened up about playing Megyn Kelly in an upcoming film about the last years of Roger Ailes' time at Fox News, while the real Kelly is in the middle of a new controversy with NBC.

"Listen, people are complicated," Theron told Extra at the IndieWire Honor Awards Thursday night. "Honestly, I think the story broke on day two of shooting, which, at the beginning of production, everything is so insanely crazy. Obviously, we all saw it was happening. [But] it's not what the movie is about."

The new film is still untitled and is being directed by Emmy-winner Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Trumbo, Meet The Parents). It centers on the last years of Ailes' time at Fox News, before Rupert Murdoch removed him as the network's leader amid scrutiny over sexual harassment allegations. Nicole Kidman stars as Gretchen Carlson, while Alice Eve plays Ainsley Earhardt; Malcolm McDowell stars as Murdoch, and John Lithgow plays Ailes. The film was written by The Big Short co-writer Charles Randolph.

"The film is so isolated to a year and a half or two years right before Ailes was ousted by Rupert Murdoch at Fox and that's really what we're doing," Theron told Extra, adding that she has not been closely following the current situation with Kelly.

"I don't have the time right now, being an on-set producer and acting in this film and having two kids, to have any kind of perspective on it," the Oscar-winner explained.

Theron has also been busy with her two children, Austin and Jackson, who are "crazy" about Halloween.

Kelly's career at NBC fell apart over a four-day period last week, beginning during her Oct. 23 Megyn Kelly Today episode when she defended blackface Halloween costumes. She apologized in an internal memo and during the opening of her Oct. 24 episode. But on Oct. 25, NBC ran a repeat of her show and Megyn Kelly Today was cancelled by Oct. 26.

Even before Megyn Kelly Today was officially cancelled, the legal battle between Kelly's attorneys and NBC began. The network has still not formally terminated her contract, and the two sides are still trying to work out an exit package.

On Wednesday, Kelly's attorney, Bryan Freedman, slammed NBC's handling of the talks, accusing them of leaking fictional information to the media. NBC disputed Freedman's statement.

"If NBC News is not the source then they have a responsibility as a news division to correct these false claims," Freedman wrote. "Or are they somehow attempting to use these fabrications for some fictitious advantage in the discussions we're having? If Andy Lack has lost control, my hope would be that Steve Burke can step in and not permit blatant lies about our discussions to remain uncorrected."

In addition to Roach's project, Showtime is also working on a limited series based on Gabriel Sherman's book The Loudest Voice In The Room. This series will star Russell Crowe as Ailes and Naomi Watts as Carlson. There was a report that Kelly was dropped from that project, but Showtime said the role has yet to be cast and will only be a minor part of the project.

"Megyn Kelly has always been a minor character in our limited series — mentioned or appearing in a handful of scenes over the course of the eight episodes," a Showtime representative told The Hollywood Reporter. "The role has yet to be cast. No changes have been made to this role since the project was first announced."

Sherman also said that any dramatization of Ailes' downfall that claims Kelly played a major role is "pure fiction."


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