Bombshell (2019 film)

Bombshell is a 2019 American drama film directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph. The film stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, and is based upon the accounts of several women at Fox News who set out to expose CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney appear in supporting roles.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byJay Roach
Produced by
Written byCharles Randolph
Music byTheodore Shapiro
CinematographyBarry Ackroyd
Edited byJon Poll
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • December 13, 2019 (2019-12-13) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$32 million[2]
Box office$343,425[3][4]

The project was first announced in May 2017 following Ailes' death, with Roach confirmed as director the following year. Much of the cast joined that summer and filming began in October 2018 in Los Angeles.

Bombshell entered into a limited release in the United States on December 13, 2019, and is scheduled to be followed by a wide release on December 20, 2019, by Lionsgate. The film received generally positive reviews, with critics mainly praising the performances of the three leads. For their performances, Theron and Robbie were nominated for Best Actress – Drama and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.[5]


The film centres upon female Fox News personnel and their sexual harassment allegations against founder Roger Ailes.




On May 18, 2017, it was announced shortly after the death of former Fox News founder Roger Ailes that Annapurna Pictures was in the early stages of developing a film centered on the allegations made against Ailes by female employees, including Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson. Charles Randolph was expected to write the film's screenplay.[9] On May 22, 2018, it was announced that Jay Roach had been hired to direct the film.[10] On August 1, 2018, it was announced that Roach, Randolph, Beth Kono, AJ Dix, and Margaret Riley would act as the film's producers and that Denver and Delilah Productions would serve as the film's production company.[11] On October 9, 2018, it was announced that Annapurna Pictures had dropped out of producing the film, reportedly due to concerns over the film's growing budget. At the time of the announcement, it was confirmed that Bron Studios was staying onboard the film and that producers were reportedly looking at Focus Features, Participant Media, and Amblin Entertainment to potentially help finance the film.[12] The following week, Lionsgate began negotiating to join the production after Focus Features and Amblin Entertainment passed on the project.[13] By the end of the month, Lionsgate was reported to be closing a deal to distribute the film.[14] In December 2018, it was reported that Theodore Shapiro would compose the film's score and that Barry Ackroyd would serve as the film's cinematographer.[15][16] The film was initially given the working title Fair and Balanced before being announced as Bombshell in August 2019.[17] Kelly later stated that she had no involvement with the film.[18]


Alongside the directing and writing announcements, it was reported that Charlize Theron had entered negotiations to portray Kelly in the film.[10] On August 1, 2018, it was reported that Nicole Kidman had begun negotiations to star as Carlson and that Margot Robbie was in talks to play a composite associate producer at the network, with Theron confirmed to star.[11][19] Later that month, it was announced that John Lithgow had been cast as Roger Ailes.[20] In September 2018, it was reported that Allison Janney had been cast as lawyer Susan Estrich and that Kate McKinnon had been cast to play a fictional producer.[21][22]

In October 2018, it was announced that Malcolm McDowell, Mark Duplass, and Alice Eve had been cast as Rupert Murdoch, Douglas Brunt, and Ainsley Earhardt, respectively.[23][14] In November 2018, it was reported that Brigette Lundy-Paine and Liv Hewson had been cast as two fictional characters[24] and that Alanna Ubach,[25] Elisabeth Röhm, Spencer Garrett, Connie Britton, Ashley Greene, Brooke Smith, Michael Buie, Nazanin Boniadi, and Bree Condon had been cast as Jeanine Pirro, Martha MacCallum, Sean Hannity, Beth Ailes, Abby Huntsman, Irena Brigante, Bret Baier, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, respectively.[26][27][28][29][30][31] In December 2018, it was announced that Rob Delaney had joined the cast of the film in an undisclosed role and that Ahna O'Reilly had been cast as Julie Roginsky.[32][33] In June 2019, Robin Weigert announced she had joined the cast of the film.[34]


Principal photography for the film began on October 22, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.[35][36]


The film was scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.[37] However, it was pushed up a week to December 13, 2019, in a limited release opening wide a week later on December 20.[38]


Box office

In its limited opening weekend the film made $312,100 from four theaters for a per-venue average of $78,025, the fifth best of 2019.[39]

Critical response

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 61% based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 6.77/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Bombshell benefits from a terrific cast and a worthy subject, but its impact is muffled by a frustrating inability to go deeper than the sensationalistic surface."[40] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 64 out of 100 based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[41]

Megyn Kelly, following a private screening shortly prior to the film's release, said that the film was an "emotional experience" for her, but noted inaccuracies.[18]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
AACTA Awards January 4, 2020 Best International Actress Charlize Theron Pending [42]
Best International Supporting Actor John Lithgow Pending
Best International Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman Pending
Margot Robbie Pending
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 12, 2020 Best Actress Charlize Theron Pending [43]
Best Supporting Actress Margot Robbie Pending
Best Acting Ensemble Bombshell Pending
Best Makeup Vivian Baker, Cristina Waltz, and Richard Redlefsen Pending
Golden Globe Awards January 5, 2020 Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Charlize Theron Pending [44]
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Margot Robbie Pending
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards January 11, 2020 Best Contemporary Make-Up Vivian Baker, Cristina Waltz and Richard Redlefsen Pending [45]
Best Special Make-Up Effects Vivian Baker, Richard Redlefsen and Kazu Hiro Pending
Best Contemporary Hair Styling Anne Morgan, Jaime Leigh McIntosh and Adruitha Lee Pending
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 19, 2020 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Bombshell Pending [46]
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Charlize Theron Pending
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nicole Kidman Pending
Margot Robbie Pending
Satellite Awards TBA Best Motion Picture – Drama Bombshell Pending [47]
Best Actress – Drama Charlize Theron Pending
Best Supporting Actress Nicole Kidman Pending
Margot Robbie Pending

See also

  • The Loudest Voice – a miniseries based on the life of Ailes, which also depicts the events leading up to his departure from Fox News.


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