Prince Andrew's infamous Newsnight interview will be the subject of a new movie.
The 62-year-old royal was quizzed by Emily Maitlis about his friendship with late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in November 2019, and now the story of how the BBC came to land the bombshell discussion will be told in a film called “Scoop”.
Hugh Grant is rumoured to be in the frame to play the disgraced prince – who had his royal patronages and military titles returned to the queen earlier this year as he prepared to face civil action from Virginia Guiffre – but producer Hilary Salmon stressed "no one is attached", though she admitted "we have, of course, thoughts" about who they would like to star in the film.
She also confirmed pitching has been sent to some agents and added: ”The reaction is always the same, ‘Oh, wow.' "
“Your Honor” writer Peter Moffat is writing the screenplay and explained the film is “about how the BBC’s Newsnight team got the scoop, then the actual filming of it."
He added to Deadline: “The other thing is, ‘Why did he agree to do it?’
“How was it that he decided it was a good idea to do a great big long interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC?"
The film will be based on Sam McAlister's new book, “Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews”, in which the former Newsnight producer recalls how she, Emily, the show's ex-editor Esme Wren and then-deputy editor Stewart Maclean secured the interview with Andrew.
Peter said: "(I want to tell the story of how) Sam and those two extraordinary women, Emily and Esme, made the interview happen under real stress and pressure because once it was agreed it happened in secret. Almost nobody inside the BBC could know about it for fear it would leak.
“What Andrew was going to say was going to be extremely relevant in court later … a real responsibility, particularly to Epstein’s women victims. It was our one shot at looking at what Andrew had to say about Epstein. The seriousness with which Emily, Esme and Sam were taking it, of course, was right.”
And although it "sounds a little crass", the writer noted the dealings of the BBC team and members of Andrew's household, including his private secretary Amanda Thirsk and his daughter Princess Beatrice “makes for very thrilling drama.”
Segments of the interview will be re-created for the film, but no real BBC footage will be used.
Virginia – who was formerly known as Virginia Roberts – previously accused convicted sex offender Epstein, who took his own life in August 2019, and his one-time girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell of arranging and forcing her into having sex with Andrew in 2001.
Andrew strongly denied the allegation that he sexually abused her when she was under 18 years of age but weeks before a civil trial was due to start, he settled the case out of court with a reported $12-million payment to his accuser, including a donation to her sex trafficking charity.