Why Emily Maitlis turned down Gillian Anderson’s offer to meet before playing her in Netflix film

Emily Maitlis, the former Newsnight presenter who famously interviewed Prince Andrew in 2019, has revealed why she declined to meet Gillian Anderson, the actress who is portraying her in the upcoming Netflix film Scoop. Maitlis said she felt it was “hormonally complicated” to see someone else playing her on screen, and that she wanted to keep some distance from the project.

Scoop is a Netflix film based on the book of the same name by Sam McAlister, the former Newsnight producer who was behind the explosive interview with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the allegations made against him by Virginia Giuffre.

The interview, which aired in November 2019, was widely seen as a disaster for the royal, who failed to express sympathy for Epstein’s victims, denied having sex with Giuffre, and gave bizarre explanations for his actions, such as claiming he could not sweat due to a medical condition.

The interview sparked a public outcry and a media frenzy, and led to Prince Andrew stepping back from his royal duties and losing many of his patronages and sponsors. It also boosted Maitlis’s reputation as a fearless and formidable journalist, and earned her several awards and accolades.

The actress who wanted to meet the journalist

Gillian Anderson, the award-winning actress who is best known for her roles in The X-Files, The Crown, and Sex Education, is playing Maitlis in the film, which is set to be released on Netflix in April 2023.

Anderson, who has previously played real-life figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Blanche DuBois, said she was keen to meet Maitlis in person to prepare for the role, and that she reached out to her via email.

However, Maitlis turned down the offer, saying she felt it was “hormonally complicated” to see someone else playing her on screen, and that she wanted to keep some distance from the project.

Maitlis explained, “I think it’s a bit like seeing your ex with someone else. You don’t want to be rude, but you don’t really want to know. You want to pretend it’s not happening.”

She added, “I think Gillian is amazing, and I’m sure she’ll do a brilliant job. But I don’t want to get involved in something that I have no control over. I want to focus on my own work and my own life.”

The film that promises to reveal the truth

Scoop, which is directed by Paul Greengrass and co-stars Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Billie Piper as McAlister, promises to reveal the truth behind the interview that shook the world, and the challenges and risks that the Newsnight team faced in making it happen.

The film is based on McAlister’s book, which gives a behind-the-scenes account of how she secured the interview, how she prepared Maitlis for it, and how she dealt with the aftermath of it.

McAlister said, “This film is not just about the interview. It’s about the story of a small team of journalists who had a vision and a mission, and who worked tirelessly and fearlessly to expose the truth. It’s also about the power and the responsibility of the media, and the impact that it can have on people’s lives.”

She added, “I’m thrilled that Gillian Anderson is playing Emily Maitlis, and I hope that she will capture her spirit and her brilliance. I’m also grateful that Emily has been supportive and respectful of the film, even though she has chosen not to be involved in it.”

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