In the limited series The Loudest Voice, which premieres on Showtime Sunday night, Sienna Miller plays Elizabeth Ailes, wife of Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe), the late Fox News CEO, who was forced to resign from the right-wing media outlet in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.
“It’s a pretty spectacular fall from grace and she remains completely devoted to him,” says Miller, whose many previous acting credits include American Sniper and The Lost City of Z. “As the plot developed, and obviously things are revealed about the nature of him as a man and his behavior towards women, it was interesting to play somebody who stayed with him. I found that fascinating. Her father died when she was young and so Roger, I felt, in some ways was kind of a paternal figure in her life. But it’s a complicated relationship. I think they did really love each other.”
Miller struggled to find materials on which to base her performance, aside from the script and Gabriel Sherman’s book about Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room.
“She was not open to being part of the show, for obvious reasons,” says the actress. “There’s very little footage of her that I had access to. But there were these two speeches which she gave, which were on YouTube, and another little interview, so I really kind of based my research around that, and relied on the script because there’s just not a lot of information on her out there. But the interview and the speeches I found really revealing.”
Was Miller able to empathize with her subject?
“I find it impossible to play a character without empathizing with them,” she says. “You have to. You can’t start judging, otherwise it’s completely counterproductive to what you’re trying to achieve. So, yes, I did, I did as her, but it’s difficult for me to relate to aspects of her, for sure. She’s very, very different to me. It’s a very Republican world, very religious. But she’s kind of funny, Beth, too. There are little edges to her as the story goes on. There are some interesting little twists.”
The Loudest Voice costars Naomi Watts — who plays Gretchen Carlson — and Seth MacFarlane, among others. Watch the trailer for show above.