Emilia Clarke and Michael Shannon vs. Senator McCarthy

Emilia Clarke, in a frame from ‘Game of Thrones’.

Václav Marhoul, signatory of ‘The Painted Bird’, a drama about World War II that caused a great scandal at the 2019 Venice Film Festival on account of its explicit violence, will direct the film


The anti-communist purge that Senator Joseph McCarthy promoted against Hollywood in the 1950s, known as ‘The Witch Hunt’, was such a forceful blow to the Mecca of Cinema that since then multiple films have looked back trying to study the phenomenon. The truth is that, only in the film industry, the black list of actors, directors, screenwriters and other filmmakers marked by their political ideas caused several careers to be mortally wounded, if not that a few had to sign their work with pseudonyms and others will go into exile in Europe and prop up a traumatic event that continues to resonate today. Now the magazine ‘Collider’ announces that a biopic on the senator titled simply ‘McCarthy’ has been launched.

The film will be directed by Czech filmmaker Václav Marhoul, the author of ‘The Painted Bird’, a drama about World War II that caused a major scandal at the 2019 Venice Film Festival on account of its explicit violence. Marhoul will shoot ‘McCarthy’ between Prague and a location in the US to be determined, having already recruited a few interpreters who will further contribute to the visibility of the project. First, there is Michael Shannon (seen recently in ‘Backstabbing’ and the series ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’), who will play the senator while actress Emilia Clarke (Daenerys in ‘Game of Thrones’) does the same with his wife, Jean Kerr.

In addition to Shannon and Clarke, the cast of ‘McCarthy’ includes the presence of Dane DeHaan (‘Valerian and the city of a thousand planets’) as Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s adviser, and Scoot McNairy (‘True Detective’) as Ray Kiermas, one of the senator’s closest people. At the head of the biopic script we find Tom O’Connor, in whose curriculum the two installments of ‘The Other Bodyguard’ stand out. Shooting for ‘McCarthy’ is set to begin in the fall of 2022.

Joseph McCarthy (Grand Chute, Wisconsin, November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957), was a furious anti-communist North American senator who during his ten years in the North American Senate became famous for his research on people in the government of the States United States and others suspected of being Soviet agents or sympathizers of communism infiltrated in the public administration or the army. He remained a little-known figure until in February 1950, when he launched a public indictment against 205 alleged Communists infiltrators in the State Department. Although he could not prove it in any of the cases that were discussed in the Senate Committee on International Relations, the environment caused by the Cold War and the Korean War made him very popular in the most conservative circles of his country.

McCarthy instigated an anti-communist crusade, calling himself a defender of authentic American values. The most conservative elements of the American political class, among them the future president Richard Nixon, supported him in his work on the Senate Committee that he chaired and that was mainly primed in the entertainment world and in Hollywood. A fan of drinking, in his delusions he went so far as to accuse the Secretary (Minister) of Defense of covering up foreign espionage activities. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to act against him. The realization that this ‘witch hunt’ endangered the essence of democracy further led his own party leaders to allow a vote of no confidence to pass him in 1954. That same year, McCarthy lost what little prestige he had. The hearing of the senate against army officers for their alleged communist activity remained for him to be broadcast on television. His demagogic and brutal style was exposed. In his last years as a congressman, all his colleagues, including those from his own party, avoided him.

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Emilia Clarke and Michael Shannon vs. Senator McCarthy

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