Prince Andrew’s nuclear interview on BBC’s “Newsnight” in 2019, which focused on his ties with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is set to become a feature film.
Peter Moffat, the acclaimed screenwriter behind “Your Honor,” is writing the screenplay for “Scoop,” Deadline reported Wednesday. According to the outlet, Hugh Grant is one of the unconfirmed names in the frame to portray the Duke of York. However, the British actor has since denied he’s in talks to play Andrew.
The production company behind the movie is The Lighthouse Film & TV, which was launched two years ago by Hilary Salmon, Radford Neville and Nick Betts, along with U.K.-based Voltage TV.
“Scoop” is set to tell the behind-the-scenes story of the 62-year-old’s bombshell sit-down with BBC journalist Emily Maitlis. It will be based on the chapters of a new book by former “Newsnight” producer Sam McAlister titled “Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews,” which explores the negotiations with Andrew and his team, the rehearsals and the aftermath. The televised interview was famously slammed by viewers and described as a disaster for the disgraced royal.ROYAL PRINCES REPORTEDLY AT WAR: ANDREW, CHARLES AND WILLIAM — WILL THEY EVER REUNITE?
Shortly after the interview, Andrew revealed that he asked his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, if he could “step back” from his public duties.
Many in the media were quick to deride Andrew for not only defending his friendship with Epstein but for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims.
Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, has said Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001 when she was 17. She claimed Epstein flew her around the world on private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” the Duke of York said in his interview.
At the time, Giuffre challenged the British royal to speak out, telling reporters in New York “he knows exactly what he’s done.”
“And the answer is nothing,” Andrew told the BBC.
Andrew admitted: “I kick myself … on a daily basis” for being friends with and staying with Epstein on multiple occasions.
“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of the queen said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Andrew admitted that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of the people he met and all the things he learned, another statement for which he was chastised by the media.
Epstein died from suicide in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that prosecutors alleged involved many girls over several years in the early 2000s.
Andrew’s decision to grant an interview that went into forensic detail about his well-documented ties to a sex offender was a high-stakes gamble in a country where royals traditionally don’t submit to such questioning. When royals speak at all, they usually offer carefully considered comments about charitable works.
Andrew was stripped of his honorary military roles in January amid the furor surrounding Giuffre’s lawsuit. The queen also removed his honorary leadership of various charities, known as royal patronages, and barred him from using the title “his royal highness” in official settings.
Andrew later settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay his accuser an undisclosed sum that the British media has suggested could be as much as 12 million pounds ($15 million). He denies the allegations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.