In the perfect marriage of politics and Hollywood casting, Robert Redford might portray Dan Rather in a dramatic thriller about the 2004 60 Minutes II investigation into whether or not President George W. Bush received preferential treatment to avoid Vietnam service in 1968. Cate Blanchett is also in talks to play Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who worked on the controversial story and is the central figure in the proposed film, which still lacks financing. Her 2005 book, Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power, is the basis for the movie, which will be directed by screenwriter James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man).
CBS aired a bombshell segment two months before Bush’s re-election bid, claiming that he’d never fulfilled his service requirements to the Texas Air National Guard. When certain incriminating documents proved to be forgeries, CBS ultimately apologized and claimed it had been “misled.” Four CBS employees, including Mapes, were forced to resign. Rather’s reputation was tarnished and he ultimately resigned.
The casting of Redford as Rather would be somewhat poetic, since Rather was the CBS White House correspondent during Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Redford played Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men. The Oscar-winning director was critical of the Bush Administration and made a movie, Lions for Lambs, that skewered the war hawks who led the country into war following 9/11.
Representatives for Redford and Blanchett did not respond to EW’s requests for comment.