Following the enigmatic teaser set in a Fox News elevator that appeared online over the summer, viewers will get their first real look at the upcoming film Bombshell when the full trailer premieres exclusively on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday.
Among the revelations in the two minute clip are just how much Charlize Theron has managed to channel Megyn Kelly, how John Lithgow’s Roger Ailes measures up to the version portrayed by Russell Crowe on Showtime’s The Loudest Voice and the fact that director Jay Roach has used actual footage of current Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade spliced together with Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson.
Combined with Margot Robbie as a composite character meant to stand in for Ailes’ largely powerless sexual harassment and assault victims at Fox, the result is a blend of reality and artifice that at first glance could make for a wildly compelling movie experience, especially when you consider the script comes from Charles Randolph, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Big Short.
The trailer opens with a darkly hilarious speech from Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon as a behind-the-scenes player introducing Robbie’s character Kayla to Fox News. “You have to adopt the mentality of an Irish street cop,” she says as they walk through the busy newsroom. “The world is a bad place, people are lazy morons, minorities are criminals, sex is sick but interesting. Ask yourself, what would scare my grandmother or piss off my grandfather? And that’s a Fox story.”
In the scenes with Doocy and Kilmeade, we see Kidman’s Carlson gently ribbing her co-hosts for sexually harassing her on-the-air. “Yeah, I gotta read that manual again,” the real Kilmeade jokes.
We also get a glimpse of Kelly’s private reaction to Trump’s “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” dig. “Oh my god, did he just accuse me of anger-menstruating?” she asks. And there are quick snapshots of Bree Condon’s Kimberly Guilfoyle rallying the troops and Alanna Ubach as Jeanine Pirro dressing down Robbie for daring to be disloyal.
The “bombshell” of the film’s title, of course, is Carlson’s real-life decision to finally expose Ailes for his decades of misconduct. There has been some fear in the media world that Bombshell would improperly valorize Kelly, even though she waited until Carlson spoke up and Ailes was already on his way out as head of the network to reveal her own stories of how he had mistreated her, saving the details for her 2016 book Settle for More.
Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres this week, Theron declined to say whether she was able to meet with or speak to Kelly during her preparations for the role. “As a team, we’ve just decided to really protect our sources,” she said. “Megyn is fully aware of the film and I’m really hoping that she’ll see it.”