'The Loudest Voice's Cast & Producers on 'Igniting the National Dialogue'
Showtime's latest limited series The Loudest Voice, which focuses on the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, arrives Sunday, June 30. Ahead of the network debut, the stars, creatives and journalists connected to the show were on hand at the New York City premiere on Monday, June 24.
Walking the carpet at the Paris Theater, Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts, Sienna Miller, and more were in attendance and TV Insider was there to catch up with the talent, who filled us in on their characters and the unbelievable details they didn't know about Roger Ailes' story before.
Below, we're rounding up the highlights on everything from what the cast hopes viewers take away from the series as well as working with prosthetics and more.
Women in the Work Place
Despite not being able to contribute, former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson was in attendance at the premiere in support of the series, which depicts her own story with Ailes. "It's just so important that Showtime dedicated themselves to this, because what they're doing is they're honoring how terrifying it is for women to come forward," Carlson said.
"It's going to ignite the national dialogue again, and that's what we really need to fix the problem," she continued. "We can't keep hiding in the shadows — we have to talk openly about it."
Star Aleksa Palladino echoed Carlson's sentiment when we asked what she hopes fans take away from the show after watching. "Emphasizing the importance for women to be independent on their own... And for our society to keep evolving, so that women don't need to get jobs from men," she said. "And I think as a culture, we are moving there, but there's a lot of work to keep doing."
A Producer's Dream
Considering the news coverage surrounding Ailes' ousting from Fox in 2017 and Gabriel Sherman's book The Loudest Voice in the Room — which served as the show's inspiration — it was a perfect opportunity for producers to take on a story people wanted to know more about. Blumhouse Productions was the one of the companies involved, and as co-presidents Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold of Blumhouse Televison put it, the story surrounding Ailes was the perfect storm.
"It was right around the time of the Republican National Convention in 2016," Marci Wiseman said of the first time the production team heard about Sherman's book. "So there was a lot of activity going on both in the Republican Party as well as in Ailes' life."
"The story, in real time, had continued to evolve and change," said Gold. "And the story around us, as we were busy writing scripts, kept getting more and more layered and complex and interesting."
As far as the story they helped create from Sherman's source material, Blumhouse founder Jason Blum told us, "I think it's a cautionary tale. Especially when you're in media and you're ruthless and ambitious, you have to realize that those things have very serious consequences, for better or for worse."
Aim for Accuracy
Unlike some limited series, The Loudest Voice relies on portrayals of real-life figures, and while a few were more accessible, it was a game of research for the stars to nail it. Unfortunately for some, they had to rely on themselves to convey their characters.
"This one was a little challenging, because she didn't want to have anything to do with it, and she didn't talk to Gabe for the book, she didn't talk to us for the project," Aleksa Palladino said of her character and Ailes' longtime assistant. "This is our version of Judy. This is not a biopic on her, this is just how we are portraying her for the sake of the story," she revealed.
Meanwhile, Jenna Leigh Green, who is set to portray Irena Briganti (currently Senior Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications at Fox News), said she couldn't find much on her character. "I didn't get to meet her. I didn't get to talk to anyone who knows her, but in those situations, you kind of have to just take the idea and run with it, and hope that if you're going in the wrong direction, you might get steered back."
Star Josh Stamberg had it a bit easier with some info from friends and those close to his character Bill Shine and to Ailes. "I was fortunate to know people who were very close to Roger Ailes, who had worked with Bill and got a lot of really pertinent information that way," he said. Stamberg shares many scenes with Crowe as Ailes, and was just as taken aback by his physical transformation with the help of some prosthetics to create Ailes' likeness.
"I met [Crowe on] makeup test day, and he came out. Producers and everybody said, "Wow, let's get you guys together so we can start talking about this relationship." And I was like everyone who's going to see it — gobsmacked... And, same with Sienna [Miller]. I feel like I don't blow a lot of takes, [but] the only take I remember blowing, in a rehearsal, was with Sienna when I first heard the voice and first saw her and I was... blown."
Mackenzie Astin and Fran Kranz also had plenty of material to work with for their characters John Moody and Gabe Sherman. When approaching his role, Astin said, "The thing that I continue to hold on to that was very important to me in terms of my research was remembering that this is a human being. That we're not making a caricature."
As for Kranz, he had Sherman at his disposal and learned some interesting things about the author along the way. "It takes a little bit of crazy to put yourself in danger. Gabe had multiple attacks on his reputation, but also death threats to him and his family. He persisted and he knew what he was onto," Kranz said.
Setting the Mood
Music plays an integral part in this series as well, and composer Marcelo Zavros — who has worked on other Showtime titles such as Ray Donovan and The Affair — shared that this project was approached differently than his past projects. "I really thought of it like a movie," he said. "We're able to have a much more cinematic approach to everything." As for the dark tone of the series, Zavros said, "The score is quite moody and really, really fun to write."
Don't miss the riveting story when The Loudest Voice premieres Sunday, June 30 on Showtime, and tune in weekly to the limited series to see Ailes' rise and fall with Fox.
The Loudest Voice, Series Premiere, Sunday, June 30, 10/9c, Showtime