Gillian Anderson to star as Emily Maitlis in Prince Andrew interview drama

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 08: Actor Gillian Anderson arrives for the world premiere of  'The Crown' Season 5 at Theatre Royal in London, United Kingdom on November 08, 2022. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Gillian Anderson will star in a Netflix film about Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Gillian Anderson is set to play Emily Maitlis in an all-star Netflix drama based on the infamous Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

She will lead a star-studded cast which also includes Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew, Keeley Hawes as his private secretary Amanda Thirsk, and Billie Piper as Sam McAlister who negotiated the interview and whose memoir the film is based on.

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Netflix's film, titled SCOOP, is adapted from McAlister's book Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews.

Maitlis's BBC Newsnight interview hit headlines in 2019 with revelations about his friendship with sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia Guiffre's allegations that Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, and his claims that he was actually in Pizza Express on the night in question and is unable to sweat.

Journalist Emily Maitlis rehearsing ahead of delivering the 2022 MacTaggart Lecture in The Lennox at the EICC at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Picture date: Thursday August 24, 2022.
Emily Maitlis interviewed Prince Andrew for Newsnight. (PA/Alamy)

A Netflix description of the film announced on Tuesday reads: "The inside track of the women that broke through the Buckingham Palace establishment to secure the scoop of the decade that led to the catastrophic fall from grace of The Queen’s ‘Favourite son’.

"From navigating Palace vetoes, to breaking through to Prince Andrew’s inner circle, the high stakes negotiations and intensity of rehearsal - to the jaw dropping interview itself.

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"SCOOP is the insider account of the inner workings of the Palace and the BBC, twin bastions of the British Establishment, spotlighting the journalists whose tenacity and guts broke through the highest of ceilings - and into the inner sanctum and calculations of a man with everything to lose."

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 19: Rufus Sewell attends the premiere of
Rufus Sewell will play Prince Andrew. (FilmMagic)

McAlister said: "It is beyond my wildest dreams, especially as a first time writer, to end up working with this extraordinary cast, Netflix, and the amazing teams at The Lighthouse and Voltage. Watching Billie Piper, one of my favourite actresses, play 'me' will be a pinch myself moment and I’m truly thrilled to be involved in this film."

Philip Martin, who has worked on The Crown and Prime Suspect, directs the film and said: "I’m thrilled to be directing this film for Netflix and - together with an extraordinary cast - to be bringing Sam McAlister’s revelatory insider’s account to the screen.

"Uptempo, immersive and cinematic, I want to put the audience inside the breath-taking sequence of events that led to the interview with Prince Andrew - to tell a story about a search for answers, in a world of speculation and varying recollections. It’s a film about power, privilege and differing perspectives and how - whether in glittering palaces or hi-tech newsrooms - we judge what’s true."