Emilia Jones To Play Whistleblower Who Exposed Russia’s Interference In 2016 Election

CODA star Emilia Jones has signed on to play whistleblower Reality Winner in Winner, a dark-comedy biopic from Susanna Fogel, who previously directed The Spy Who Dumped Me and co-wrote Booksmart.

Winner, a former U.S. Air Force member and NSA contractor, served in prison after she leaked an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Her five and a half years behind bars is the longest sentence ever given to someone charged under the Espionage Act for leaking a government document.

The film is being described as “a fresh take on the traditional whistleblower thriller,” and will be based on Kerry Howley‘s 2017 New York Magazine feature that portrays a brilliant and young misfit from Texas who finds her morals challenged while serving in the U.S. Air Force and working as a NSA contractor. Howley has written the screenplay herself.

Fogel said in a statement:

Reality Winner is the perfect heroine for a film that meditates on ideas of personal power, morality, and finding your voice. She’s a true individual: she speaks many languages, she loves her guns, she could destroy you on Twitter, and her obsession with Pikachu is unmatched. Clearly, she’s the perfect mouthpiece for a generation of people who are unique and fed up with feeling powerless.”

Interestingly, this is the second in-development project about Winner. Sydney Sweeney was recently cast to play her in a separate film directed by Tina Satter and inspired by her play Is This A Room. The play is based on the transcript of Winner’s interview by the FBI.

For Winner, Jones will join a cast that already includes Connie Britton as Reality’s mother, Zach Galifianakis as Reality’s father, Danny Ramirez as her boyfriend, and Kathryn Newton as her sister. Expect this version of the story to be the more traditional telling, while Is This A Room might have a sparser, more arthouse feel.

Jones has had a major role in Netflix series Locke & Key since 2020, but it was CODA that truly put her on the map, earning her a boatload of acting nominations. This collaboration with Fogel makes sense, as the two are already working together on psychological thriller Cat Person, which is currently in post-production.


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