There's been no shortage of Watergate-themed movies over the years, from 1976's All The President's Men to 2017's The Post. But the upcoming Starz drama Gaslit promises to tell a different kind of Watergate story, focusing on the forgotten players and lesser-known aspects of this era-defining political scandal.
Here's what we know so far about Gaslit.
The cast is packed with A-listers.
The Gaslit ensemble is spearheaded by Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, who will play husband and wife. Roberts is Martha Mitchell, "a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell," who's described by the Starz synopsis as "a big personality with an even bigger mouth. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel.”
Meanwhile, Penn plays Attorney General John Mitchell, a "temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless" man whose Achilles heel is his love for his outspoken wife, and who's ultimately forced to choose between his loyalty to her, and to the President. The cast also includes Dan Stevens, Betty Gilpin and Shea Whigham.
Dan Stevens replaced Armie Hammer in a key role.
Originally, Hammer was on board to play John Dean, a young White House counsel who finds himself torn between his ambition and his morality, when he's pressured to lie to protect Nixon. Per Deadline, Hammer left the project in January owing to a scheduling conflict, weeks before a series of sexual misconduct and assault allegations emerged against him.
The series is based on a podcast.
The first season of Slate's Slow Burn podcast, now in its fifth season, focused on the lesser-known stories of Watergate. Gaslit is adapted from that season of Slow Burn, and is described as "a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal — from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.”
The show, which is planned as an ongoing anthology series, is created by Mr Robot showrunner Sam Esmail, who previously worked with Roberts on another podcast adaptation, Amazon's Homecoming.
Filming on Gaslit may soon pause after Sean Penn took a stand in favor of vaccination.
In a move that may signal a sea change in Hollywood's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sean Penn took a public stand last week against crew members who refuse to get vaccinated. Penn refused to continue working on set until every single crew member on the series was vaccinated. Per The Wrap, the production is continuing to film scenes that don't include Penn for now, but it's unclear what the next step will be.
You Might Also Like