The inside story behind Prince Andrew’s explosive TV interview on his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is set to be adapted for the big screen.
Scoop will be based on key chapters from a new book by Sam McAlister, the former Newsnight producer who secured the infamous meeting, with production due to begin in late 2022.
Prince Andrew‘s appearance on the BBC programme was intended to dispel increasing scrutiny of his relationship with Epstein, who died in prison earlier that year – as well as allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl.
However, the interview with presenter Emily Maitlis was branded “disastrous” and “excruciating” when it aired in November 2019 – making headlines around the world for all the wrong reasons.
McAlister said she was excited to see the “extraordinary” story brought to the big screen.
Scoop will explore how Newsnight bagged the “scoop of the decade”, from an initial failed approach to Buckingham Palace and negotiations with Andrew’s team, to the rehearsal and the details of the interview itself.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested Hugh Grant is one of the names being considered to play the Duke of York.
Screenwriter Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of) will adapt the story for film, while The Lighthouse Film & TV will produce.
“What the hell did he think he was doing?” Moffat said as the film was announced. “Who got him to do it? Why, when the rest of the world was so appalled, did he think it had gone so well? What kind of a man is this?
“In researching the film and talking to those on the inside of this extraordinary story I got the answers to all these questions. They’re provoking, often surprising, sometimes disturbing – and I think they make for a compelling story about power and abuse and journalistic courage.”
Executive producer Hilary Salmon said: “Sam’s book vividly chronicles the moment-to-moment drama that led to that most revealing and jaw-dropping of TV events. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Sam’s story to life.”
Andrew stepped away from public life after the interview and the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Epstein.
The duke paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case with Virginia Giuffre, who said she was trafficked by Epstein and accused Andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was 17.
He denied all her claims.
McAlister’s book – Scoops: Behind The Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews – also features details of other interviews including Julian Assange, Stormy Daniels, Steven Seagal and Amy Schumer.