In Bombshell, the buzzy, upcoming movie based on the downfall of Fox CEO Roger Ailes at the hands of the women he'd harassed, Margot Robbie plays a character named Kayla Pospisil. And if you're wondering how real life measures up to the facts, in this case, I have some bad news: Pospisil is fictionalized, a character made up specifically for the movie, albeit one inspired by real women.
Director Jay Roach told IndieWire that Pospisil is based on a number of women who spoke to filmmakers about Ailes' harassment. "We’re not revealing the people we talk to. We’re trying to protect them," he's said of the project's sources. As IndieWire notes, Charlize Theron alluded during an Ellen DeGeneres Show appearance to Kayla being an amalgamation of real stories: "We used a lot of source material in finding the story and also spoke to a lot of women who were part of the story. Some of them were still working at Fox. Some of them really didn’t want their names out there."
While critics could argue that Robbie didn't have to worry about portraying real-life people like Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman did (read: Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, respectively), Robbie still gives a standout performance in the movie—she plays a young conservative woman who belongs to a large Fox News-watching Republican family. Pospisil is also one of Ailes' victims.
In the movie, hoping to get her big on-air break at Fox News, Pospisil takes a meeting with Ailes and ends up leaving her job on Carlson's team for Bill O’Reilly’s.
Intrigued? Watch the trailer below:
While you're still processing that Pospisil is fake, allow us to take a moment of appreciation for how much Theron and Kidman look like Kelly and Carlson—the former Fox News anchors who actually helped take down Ailes IRL.
She may not be based on a single person, but Robbie's character endures some painful scenes throughout the film—I won't drop too many spoilers here—that were inspired by real-life events, and unfortunately make Kayla Pospisil all too relatable for millions of women.
Bombshell premieres in theaters everywhere December 20, 2019.
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