Michael Shannon and Emilia Clarke’s McCarthy Back in Development, to be Filmed in Prague

Image Credit: Ursula Coyote/Showtime

Michael Shannon and Emilia Clarke-starrer ‘McCarthy’ is back in development. The biographical film, based on the life of Senator Joseph McCarthy, is slated to start filming in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. The project, which was originally announced in 2021, follows the epic rise and fall of the infamous McCarthy, offering an unflinching look into this dangerously enigmatic figure, as well as the real powers behind the throne: his politically ambitious wife Jean Kerr, his ruthless young lawyer Roy Cohn, and his trusted friend and colleague Ray Kiermas.

The shooting in Prague may begin once the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike concludes. The Czech city is known for its alluring cityscape, captivating architectural marvels, and historical sites. ‘The Wheel of Time,’ ‘Foundation,’ ‘Outlander,’ ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,’ ‘Extraction 2,’ ‘Hunters,’ ‘The Gray Man,’ and ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ are some of the renowned projects previously filmed in the city.

The film is directed by Czech filmmaker Václav Marhoul, based on a script by Tom O’Connor. Marhoul previously helmed the award-winning war film ‘The Painted Bird.’ “We have so many Jo McCarthys around us at the moment. I spent 29 years in a communist regime – the lies, the anti-American propaganda, secret bullies arresting people – so I know what it means when you really face the fear and the evil. He wasn’t a black and white guy. He wasn’t evil. He also had positives… He did believe that he was a crusader. The Jo McCarthy movie mustn’t be just a description. I’m not interested in what happened. I’m interested in why it happened,” the director said about the film while presenting the same at American Film Market.

O’Connor, on the other hand, is known for writing ‘The Courier,’ ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard,’ and ‘Fire with Fire.’ “Given that McCarthy is such a darkly iconic figure in our history I was shocked that there had never been a film made about him,” he joined Marhoul to explain what drew him to write the screenplay. “I had never stopped to consider the humanness of Jo McCarthy. I’d never even stopped to consider where he’d come from, how he was formed. […] Throughout the course of this story one thing that will dawn on the audience is how did a man this flawed and conflicted manage to pull the wool over so many people’s eyes,” he added.

Shannon, who is known for playing John Givings in ‘Revolutionary Road,’ is set to play McCarthy in the film. The actor’s recent credits include Zipco in ‘The Bikeriders,’ General Zod in ‘The Flash,’ Gary Noesner in ‘Waco: The Aftermath,’ George Jones in ‘George and Tammy,’ and White Death in ‘Bullet Train.’ Clarke, on the other hand, plays McCarthy’s wife Jean Kerr. The ‘Game of Thrones’ fame is last seen in ‘Secret Invasion,’ ‘The Pod Generation,’ ‘Last Christmas,’ and ‘Above Suspicion.’ Dane DeHaan (‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘The Staircase’) and Scoot McNairy (‘Argo’ and ‘Narcos: Mexico’) are also set to feature in the film as Roy Cohn and Ray Kiermas respectively.

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