Netflix will start filming later this month on Scoop, a UK feature depicting an inside account of BBC Newsnight’s 2019 interview with Prince Andrew, that will star Rufus Sewell as Andrew and Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, the journalist who conducted the interview.
Scoop is based on Scoops: Behind The Scenes Of The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews, a memoir published last year by Sam McAlister, the former Newsnight producer who negotiated and secured the interview. McAlister has acted as a consultant to screenwriter Peter Moffat on the film, which will shoot in the UK.
The cast also includes Keeley Hawes as Amanda Thirsk, former private secretary to Andrew; and Billie Piper as McAlister.
It will be directed by British director Philip Martin, who has helmed episodes of royal-themed TV shows The Crown and Catherine the Great.
The film is produced by Hilary Salmon and Radford Neville for The Lighthouse Film & Television, with Sanjay Singhai for Voltage TV.
The Netflix logline for the film describes it as ’the inside track of the women that broke through the Buckingham Palace establishment to secure the scoop of the decade that led to the catastrophic fall from grace of the Queen’s ‘favourite son’. From navigating Palace vetoes, to breaking through to Prince Andrew’s inner circle, the high stakes negotiations and intensity of rehearsal - to the jaw dropping interview itself.’
The 2019 interview centred on Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who had killed himself in prison earlier that year; and allegations of sexual assault made against Andrew by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims. The case reached an out-of-court settlement last year at a reported £12m; the Queen also stripped Andrew of his honorary military titles, and His Royal Highness styling.
A trained criminal defence barrister, McAlister worked at the BBC for almost two decades, securing interviews with leading figures from cultural, royal and political life from around the world.
“It is beyond my wildest dreams, especially as a first time writer, to end up working with this extraordinary cast, Netflix, and the amazing teams at The Lighthouse and Voltage,” said McAlister. “Watching Billie Piper, one of my favourite actresses, play “me” will be a pinch myself moment and I’m truly thrilled to be involved in this film.”
“I’m thrilled to be directing this film for Netflix and - together with an extraordinary cast - to be bringing Sam McAlister’s revelatory insider’s account to the screen,” said Martin “Uptempo, immersive and cinematic, I want to put the audience inside the breath-taking sequence of events that led to the interview with Prince Andrew - to tell a story about a search for answers, in a world of speculation and varying recollections. It’s a film about power, privilege and differing perspectives and how - whether in glittering palaces or hi-tech newsrooms - we judge what’s true.”