Buzz increases around Murdoch movie

Rupert Murdoch’s life story may be turned into a movie with a script titled Murdoch revealed as one of the most currently talked about by Hollywood executives.

The script, by Jesse Armstrong, has appeared on The Black List, an annual round-up of the most interesting film scripts not yet in production.

Armstrong is a British writer whose film writing has included dark suicide bomber comedy Four Lions and political satire In The Loop. He also wrote on In The Loop’s TV predecessor In The Thick Of It and sitcom Peep Show.

According to the synopsis:

“As his family gathers for his birthday party, Rupert Murdoch tries to convince his elder children to alter the family trust so that his two youngest children by his newest wife will have voting rights in the company.”

In Australia, Murdoch’s News Corp owns newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail, The Herald Sun, the Sunday Times in Perth and the Adelaide Advertiser. It also has a stake in Foxtel. Globally its assets include MySpace, The Wall Street Journal in the US and The Times, Sunday Times, Sun, News of The World and a dominant stake in BSkyB in the UK.

The synopsis refers to the arrival of Murdoch’s young daughters by his third wife Wendy Deng. In Australia, his son Lachlan Murdoch owns stakes in DMG Radio and Network Ten, while James Murdoch runs most of the company’s UK, European and Asian interests. Daughter Elisabeth Murdoch is the founder of TV production giant Shine.

The script writer will have a wealth of source material to work with. Books dedicated to the media mogul have included the hostile Good Times Bad Times by legendary Sunday Times editor Harold Evans; William Shawcross’s Murdoch; and Andrew Neil’s Full Disclosure, also focused on The Sunday Times. There are also three Murdoch books by authors called Bruce to choose from – most recently Bruce Guthrie’s Australian-based Man Bites Murdoch, which came shortly after Bruce Dover’s Rupert’s Adventures In China which tells how he met Deng. And prior to that Bruce Page’s The Murdoch Archipelago.

Other recent titles focused on Murdoch have included War at the Wall Street Journal and Michael Wolff’s The Man Who Owns The News.

One factor that may convince studio bosses that the Murdoch story has potential box office appeal is the current success of The Social Network, which focused on new media mogul Mark Zuckberg’s creation of Facebook. However, the power of News Corp’s own studio 20th Century Fox may cause some to have second thoughts.



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