“I don’t think there’s many women, certainly of my age, who have not met with a Roger Ailes at some point in their career and probably many times,” reveals Emmy-nominated director Kari Skogland about how her involvement on Showtime’s limited series “The Loudest Voice” resonated with her personally.
The series chronicles the rise of Fox News and the fall from grace of its chairman, the late Roger Ailes, after sexual misconduct scandals ended his career and is a timely and powerful statement about the connection between power and misogyny in the #MeToo era. Watch our exclusive video interview with Skogland above.
“The Loudest Voice” was adapted from the bestseller “The Loudest Voice in the Room” by Gabriel Sherman, who interviewed hundreds of witnesses to the ongoing sexual harassment scandals plaguing the right-wing media juggernaut founded by the influential Murdoch family. It is told through the prism of the rise and fall of Ailes (Russell Crowe), who resigned amid the scandal of multiple allegations of sexual abuse at the network.
The series reveals the deep-seeded misogyny and sexual misconduct perpetrated by powerful men pulling the strings at an influential news network. It couldn’t be more relevant in the age of the #MeToo movement. But it is also a fascinating and disturbing look behind the scenes at the rise of the right-wing media in the U.S. and the power and impact it has had on American politics, culture and society. “For me, it as fantastic to dive in to an arena that I was familiar with,” Skogland admits. “I think I could bring some authenticity to it as a result because I lived it. The #MeToo movement was a huge break for all of us,” she says, adding that ultimately “it was a game changer for me.”
Some of the highlights of “The Loudest Voice” are the performances by its cast, which includes Naomi Watts as former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson and Sienna Miller as Ailes’ enabling wife Beth Ailes. But it is leading man Crowe that has received the lion’s share of attention. The actor is unrecognizable under layers of prosthetic makeup, and he effectively portrays Ailes as a damaged, morally bankrupt man hell-bent on changing the media landscape by any means necessary.
“He gives 150%,” Skogland declares about Crowe’s impact on the series. “He’s a perfectionist and he’s a joy to watch, because he knows when he’s hit his stride and he knows when he has it. So you watch him find his groove. When the performance hits, and we’re all behind the camera, it’s just like a connection where the electricity is spectacular,” she says. “Every time he opened his mouth as the character, the scene was charged.”
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