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With only three films to his credit, indie writer-director Tom McCarthy has already earned a reputation for being a filmmaker who can tackle complicated human drama with a warm and earnest sense of humor. Whether it be exploring loneliness and social stigmas in The Station Agent, addressing the U.S.'s troubling attitude toward illegal immigrants in The Visitor, or offering the thought-provoking tale of a pair of reluctant foster parents in Win Win, McCarthy is fearless in his tackling of taboo topics. Yet his insightful and compassionate attitude toward his characters, and knack for casting, create stories that unfold tricky issues without coming off as didactic or off-putting. All this makes McCarthy the perfect pick to helm Anonymous Content's upcoming docudrama about the journalists who broke the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.
Variety reports McCarthy has been brought on to helm the untitled picture, which will be penned by Josh Singer, whose written for TV dramas like The West Wing, Lie to Me, and Fringe. Anonymous has secured the life rights of the Boston Globe staff whose tireless investigative efforts over the course of a year of research and scads of interviews uncovered a sordid history of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests that was subsequently covered up by moving offending fathers to new parishes…where the pattern often repeated. The Globe's writing team drew the world's notice to the terrible crimes and abhorrent cover-up, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for their reports that triggered outcry for convictions and reform across the globe.
The untitled project is said to be in the vein of All the President's Men, which focused on the investigative efforts of Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who famously broke the Watergate Scandal. As that drama won plenty of praise—including four Oscars—it's a great reference to draw buzz, and to give the message that this docudrama will eschew sensationalism in favor of focusing on the trials of journalists questing to pull corruption from the shadows.
This production was first announced in 2010, and McCarthy signed on last year, but due to its controversial nature, he has kept quiet while developing the project. Anonymous is not yet seeking financing for this film, so it's hard to guess when it might roll into production, though Variety mentions an A-lister has already expressed interest. Even if there's no solid script yet, it's easy to imagine major talent eyeing this film, if only for McCarthy's involvement.
His first feature, The Station Agent, was a poignant dark comedy that launched Peter Dinklage. It's follow-up, The Visitor, earned long-time character actor Richard Jenkins his first Academy Award nomination. And though his last feature, Win Win, was shockingly underrepresented at major award events last year, its cast—including newcomer Alex Shaffer—received raves from critics. Basically, even though the topic will raise eyebrows and probably blood pressures, the untitled Boston Globe project seems sure to be stuffed with the kind of meaty roles that actors dream of.