The first trailer for Truth, the film written and directed by Zodiac screenwriter James Vanderbilt, was just released. Based on Mary Mapes’ 2005 memoir about the events that led her to be scapegoated in the Rathergate scandal (or, if you prefer less juicy wording, the “Killian documents controversy”, Truth premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was praised for its accuracy by Dan Rather himself. (He’d given his full approval, saying that, apart from living up to its title, “the acting is superior” and that it’s an “emotional film.”)
Truth stars Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mapes (it also costars Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid). Dubbed by Variety as the “feel-bad journalism movie of the year,” it begins with a flashback to 2004, when Mapes was hitting a career peak as a 60 Minutes producer who’d recently released the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story. This took a drastic turn after Rather reported information that Mapes had received, suggesting that George W. Bush, who was campaigning for his reelection at the time against the Purple-Hearted John Kerry, had shirked his duties during the Vietnam War.
Mapes wanted to break the story before anyone else, and so she put together a team of researchers — here played by Moss, Grace and Quaid. But even with a dream-team of fact-checkers behind the story’s release, almost immediately following the report on 60 Minutes (which featured documents critiquing Bush’s service in the National Guard), the evidence they’d received and shared was questioned as forgery.
Redford is said to play the role in a more naturally Redford-y than imitatively Rather-y way — and this was Vanderbilt’s aim. “I didn’t want to do prosthetics or heavy makeup. Redford just greyed his hair, did a little vocally to get that Texas twang, and then just played the character,” the director told Yahoo. Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter said in their TIFF review that the film is “blessed with another galvanizing performance by Blanchett.”
Watch the trailer:
The film will be released on October 16.