Christine is one of the most chilling films to hit the 2016 festival circuit, and EW has an exclusive first look at a tense scene from the upcoming drama.
Based on true events, Antonio Campos’ haunting biopic follows the life of on-air reporter Christine Chubbuck who, at the age of 29, died by suicide during a live news broadcast in 1974 Florida. Chubbuck introduced the fateful act by telling viewers, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts — and in living color — you’re going to see another first: attempted suicide.”
After pouring over archival footage and interviewing Chubbuck’s real-life acquaintances, Campos pieced together a dramatic retelling of the newscaster’s tumultuous life leading up to her final telecast, crafting a haunting narrative which touches on issues of mental health, journalistic integrity, and sexism in the media.
In the clip above, Christine (Hall) spars with her station chief, Michael (Tracy Letts). She consistently aims to bring insightful pieces of reporting to the channel’s airwaves, with her heart set on leading the nightly news and eventually transferring to a more prestigious station in a bigger city. A domineering news director hungry for ratings, Michael insists she tap into the recent wave of exploitation news, prodding her to bring him “juicy” news stories instead of the hard-hitting pieces she’s typically after.
“The people you’re so concerned about representing are the ones that are gobbling this stuff up,” Michael tells Christine, who questions his request for more exciting coverage focused on flair over facts. She responds: “Well, we’re supposed to know better than them… it’s on the job description.”
Michael continues, “What’s your problem, Ms. Chubbuck? You’re a feminist. You think that the way to get ahead is by talking louder than the other guy. That’s the whole movement in a nutshell,” he says. Christine responds, “Oh, you’re saying that I’m not fit for a bigger market because I’m a woman?”
“No, I’m saying there’s no respect for institutions of authority,” Michael asserts. “You’re the smartest person here. If you took half the energy you use to give me a hard time and just did what I’m asking you to do… Jesus Christ, just make your stories juicy!”
In addition to Hall and Letts, the film stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Maria Dizzia (Orange is the New Black), and Timothy Simons (Veep). It premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival alongside another Chubbuck-focused film, the documentary Kate Plays Christine, directed by Actress helmer Robert Greene.
Christine enters limited release via The Orchard (Cartel Land, Miss Stevens) on Oct. 14. Watch a scene from the film, above, and check out Christine’s trailer in the video below.