The Bombshell Movie Plot Vs. Real Life
When it comes to retelling a true story, a little artistic licence is often employed to add drama and create suspense—and sometimes it's portrayed exactly as it happened in real life.
In the case of Bombshell, director Jay Roach employed both fact and fiction to tell an already compelling story. Here, we look at six of the major 'plot vs. real-life' moments to come out of the film.
Scroll on to see them all.
According to the real Megyn Kelly, the film's portrayal of her 2015 Republican presidential debate question was real—but wasn't completely accurate
After watching the movie, the real-life Megyn Kelly (played by Charlize Theron on-screen) shared a 30-minute YouTube video discussing the film. In it, she highlighted that the film's version of her now-infamous 2015 Republican presidential debate question was not entirely factual.
In both the film and real life, Megyn asked Donald Trump: "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs,' and 'disgusting animals.' Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?"
The movie, however, depicts a scene where Megyn runs the question past the Murdochs prior to the debate, which Kelly called "a fantasy".
"I never ran it by Ailes or the Murdochs or anyone other than my debate team, so that was not true," Kelly said in her video.
"The notion that Ailes liked the Donald Trump woman question because it created controversy and a 'TV moment' was not true.
"Roger did not like the question at all, and was very angry at me for asking it, and at one point had said to me, 'No more female-empowerment stuff.'"
She also noted that, unlike how it was portrayed in the film, there were no people protesting her at the GOP convention.
Megyn Kelly actually did fall violently ill after drinking coffee ahead of the Republican presidential debate
Early in the movie, Megyn becomes suddenly ill ahead of her interview with Donald Trump at the Republican Primary Debate after drinking a coffee.
While the moment could be easily construed as a plot device to heighten the drama, the scene actually comes directly from the real-life Megyn Kelly's 2016 memoir Settle For More, where she describes her driver repeatedly insisting on her getting a coffee despite her initially declining.
In the book, Kelly says she became violently ill just 15 minutes after drinking the coffee, causing her to feel nauseous and vomit on the day of the debate. And just like in the movie, they really did put a bin next to her desk during her moderation in case she felt sick.
The film did, however, add a little bit of artistic licence to the scene. While Theron's Megyn quips behind closed doors that Trump may have been behind "poisoning her coffee", the real life Megyn never publicly blamed Trump for the event.
Gretchen Carlson really did record her conversations with Roger Ailes for over a year in the lead-up to her firing
During the third act of the film, Gretchen Carlson (portrayed by Nicole Kidman) finally suceeds in her case against Roger Ailes by dramatically revealing that she'd been recording his conversations with her in the year or so leading up to her firing.
Per the New York Times, in one of the most incriminating of the recordings, Roger can be heard saying to her "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago."
Gretchen went on to receive approximately AUD $28 million in the settlement.
Unlike Theron and Kidman's characters, Margot Robbie's character is not based on one singular 'real' person
While Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson are very much real people and TV personalities, Margot Robbie's Kayla Pospisil, an evangelical conservative millennial who's always dreamt about working at Fox News, is not based on one singular person.
She is, however, a fictional composite created by Bombshell screenwriter Charles Randolph for an important reason. According to Esquire, Kayla's character was crafted by the filmmakers after they interviewed about 20 or so Fox News staffers who were bound by a non-disclosure agreement and were not allowed to speak on record about their experiences.
While they couldn't officially come forward, they were able to share them anonymously, allowing the writers to tell their stories through Kayla.
The "leg cam" and Roger Ailes' requests for women to "twirl" are reportedly real
Bombshell portrays a number of elements from the real-life events that happened at Fox News, including allegations about the sexist expectations of female anchors, such as short skirts, see-through desks and targeted angles to reveal their legs on-screen—dubbed the "leg cam".
Horrifying as it is to witness in the film, the "leg cam" is allegedly true to the real story. Author of Murdoch's World, David Flokenflick, who has close ties with Fox News, has previously spoken out about the infamous practice and Fox's reportedly misogynistic culture, according to Gawker.
"There's a camera that they have, and what they do—I'm told this is absolutely true—they sort of sort the women they have by the degree of attractiveness, and particularly the degree of attractiveness of the legs," he said.
"I believe it's the seat on the front right where, having arranged this hierarchy, they put the woman with the best legs there and they have a camera that goes directly for the legs.
"And so essentially they have what they call the 'leg cam'," and that is to accentuate the sleekness and design of that particular person on-air."
The film also repeatedly shows Fox News CEO Roger Ailes requesting female employees to "twirl" for him because TV is a "visual medium". In one harrowing scene, he asks Margot Robbie's character to lift her skirt up to reveal her underwear so he can assess her legs.
Much like "the leg cam", the "twirl" also sadly appears to be plucked from the true story, with the real Megyn Kelly and a number of other female anchors speaking about it in Kelly's YouTube video.
Former Fox News journalist Rudi Bakhtiar says the scene were she was sexually propositioned by Fox News anchor Brian Wilson "really happened that way"
A brief flashback scene in Bombshell depicts the former Fox News journalist Rudi Bakhtiar (played by Nazanin Boniadi) being propositioned Fox News anchor Brian Wilson (played by Brian d'Arcy James).
In the movie, Wilson told Bakhtiar he'd grant her a promotion if he could "see the inside of her hotel room".
Bakhtiar sat down with the Megyn Kelly in her YouTube video and discussed the scene in question, describing it as accurate. Per the video, Bakthiar said she rejected Wilson and was promptly taken off his show the following day.
"The scene really happened that way," Bakhtiar said.
"The words in my head were not accurate, but it really did. That's exactly what happened to me. That was the last time I was in DC for Fox News. He actually took me off his show the next day—he was still an anchor then, after I had said 'no.'"
"As soon as I complained, I lost my job. It just seemed wrong that just not showing someone my hotel room and the rest that went with it, my whole career tanked."