Michael Shannon & Emilia Clarke Announced For Joseph McCarthy Biopic

Michael Shannon and Emilia Clarke have signed on to lead a new biopic focusing on the life of former American senator Joseph McCarthy.

Shannon will play the titular Senator, while Clarke will play his wife, Jean Kerr. Dane DeHaan and Scoot McNairy have also been cast as Roy Cohn and Ray Kiermas, respectively.

Václav Marhoul (The Painted Bird) will direct the film, simply titled McCarthy, which will dive deep into the life of the notoriously anti-communist politician who served in the US Senate from 1947 to 1957. McCarthy instigated an anti-communist witch hunt during the height of the Red Scare, which led to the persecution of many innocent people.

His influence would lose its momentum with what would be known as the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, before he died three years later at the age of 48 from hepatitis.

Tom O’Connor (The Courier, The Hitman’s Bodyguard) has penned the screenplay, while Vladimír Smutný and Ján Vlasák, who previously worked with Marhoul on The Painted Bird, will handle the cinematography.

Shannon is a towering presence and should be a great fit as McCarthy, while it’s interesting that a director best known for helming an Interslavic, monochromatic arthouse war drama has been hired for a distinctly American biopic. Outsiders often have a unique perspective on the U.S., so maybe that’s part of the thinking.

Either way, McCarthy should be an interesting watch and a likely awards contender when it eventually arrives. The film is scheduled to begin production in Prague and the United States around autumn next year.


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