US drama spending $11 million in NSW

23 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Moss lead the cast in Truth, a US political drama now shooting in Sydney.

The NSW government confirmed its financial support via the State Investment Attraction Scheme and said the film would inject more than $11 million in direct production expenditure into the State's economy, creating 208 jobs. Most of the post will happen in Sydney.


Redford plays former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and Blanchett is his producer Mary Mapes in the tale of the scandal that ensued after Rather reported on 60 Minutes in 2004 that George W. Bush’s father arranged for him to serve in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft.

Subsequently CBS launched an investigation into whether the documents quoted in the story were forgeries and Mapes was fired for so-called lapses in judgment.

The film marks the directing debut of screenwriter James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man, White House Down, Zodiac), adapted from Mapes’ 2005 memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, And the Privilege of Power.  Roadshow pre-bought the Australian rights.

Grace plays Mike Smith, a researcher who helped figure out the truth behind the story. Quaid is Vietnam veteran Colonel Roger Charles, who worked for the Pentagon before becoming a liaison with 60 Minutes.

Moss (Mad Men, Top of the Lake) is cast as former CBS veteran Lucy Scott, who was hired by Mapes as her associate producer to “run point” on the controversy.

As IF reported in breaking the original story, Blanchett wanted to make the film, set in Washington and New York, here so she would be close to her family.

Truth is produced by Brad Fischer (Zodiac, Shutter Island), Vanderbilt and William Sherak of Mythology Entertainment, Brett Ratner of RatPac Entertainment and Doug Mankoff and Andy Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment. The major financiers are Blue Lake Media Fund and RatPac Entertainment.

The NSW support was pivotal as the production does not qualify for the location offset because the budget is below the $15 million minimum Australian spend.

“Securing this high quality production for NSW demonstrates the competitiveness of doing business here and our international reputation for being film friendly,” said Deputy Premier and Arts Minister Troy Grant.