This December, the hotly awaited Roger Ailes takedown drama Bombshell hits theaters. With stars like Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, and more, this female-led production tells the story of how Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson — among others — helped put an end to Ailes’s sexually predatory behavior. SheKnows spoke with Bombshell‘s Bree Condon about producer and co-star Theron, the “girl power” behind this project, and why Bombshell is about way more than politics.
From the moment Condon set her eyes on the Bombshell script (and spotted the list of attached stars), she knew she wanted to tell this story. “It was a group of women who stood up for each other…a group of women who [were] not necessarily rivals, but weren’t working together alongside each other,” she told SheKnows, describing the women at Fox News who came out against Ailes. “They had their own different shows within the networks, so it wasn’t in their best interests to really stand up for each other. But, against all odds, they did.”
“[I was attracted to] how powerful that message is right now, for all women to see and be empowered in that way, to ultimately feel they can tell their story…if they don’t know, then things will never change,” Condon continues. “What they did was groundbreaking, and [the fact] that they were in the public eye and did it and sacrificed everything is a story worth telling.”
Condon, who has previously acted in TV series Lucifer, Vampire Diaries, and The Young and the Restless, plays Kimberly Guilfoyle in Bombshell, a former Fox News co-host and current girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. (You can see her in the above trailer at 1:46 handing out “Team Roger” t-shirts).
While Condon didn’t personally have scenes acting alongside co-star Theron, she says the Oscar winner’s energy as an actor and producer electrified the entire production.
“It’s not a coincidence that [Theron’s company Denver and Delilah] wanted to produce it,” Condon notes. “It’s about women who are holding up women…exactly what they were doing on and off-screen.” She notes that Theron has been fighting for this project for years, and marvels at her tireless work ethic.
“After she was done acting all day, she would go back to the make-up trailer, take off all her prosthetics that took four hours to put on, and she’d be back on set alongside the director,” the actress recalls. “She was really involved in every aspect of this film. So having that inclusiveness and feeling of — for lack of better words — “girl power” on set, and while telling this amazing story…it was an amazing feeling.”
Condon related to Theron in one other significant way: Theron, who plays Megyn Kelly, has expressed hesitation about taking on the role given Kelly’s controversial history. And Guilfoyle’s history gave Condon a similar pause.
Guilfoyle was considered Ailes’s protégé — so while women like Kelly and Carlson were fighting for the former CEO’s removal, and undertaking the efforts Condon so admires, Guilfoyle was actively working against them. And Guilfoyle aligned with her former boss in other ways too: In 2018, two years after Ailes’s resignation, Guilfoyle was removed from Fox News following a human resources investigation into her own sexual misconduct. (Guilfoyle’s attorneys deny any wrongdoing.)
So, how did Condon deal with her discomfort? “We do not share the same political beliefs at all,” Condon says flatly. “But that’s what’s really fun about discovering a character: not looking at the things that I disagree with, but looking at the things that I agreed with.”
To that end, Condon immersed herself in Guilfoyle’s TV appearances, and read the journalist’s 2015 book, Making the Case, several times. Among the personal similarities Condon found with Guilfoyle — their strong maternal figures, their dedication to family life — she found a trait worthy of genuine admiration too.
“Whether it’s what I believe or not, she’s a woman who’s not afraid to say what she thinks and then also say why,” Condon praises the former Five co-host. “It’s a great example for women and young girls to be able to say what they think — even if it’s not a popular opinion.”
For Condon, that ability to find a human connection with the women of Bombshell — and genuinely set aside politics — is precisely what makes the film work. “They represented all sides of the story very well and showed a lot of empathy toward every character,” Condon explains. “It’s really a film about sexual harassment. So no matter what side of the spectrum you’re on politically, I think that’s something that, as a country, and around the world, we should all be pretty on board with [ending].”
Like so many men and women, Condon has experienced her share of sexual harassment — but she says she’s seen a “big shift” in recent years in how it’s handled. “It’s not something that people, before the last few years, were even talking about,” she explains. “So whether you’re male or female, there are so many things that you just kind of put up with, that you just kind of brushed off as a joke…So I think it’s great that these conversations are being had and that a film like this is being made.”
“[Sexual harassment] is not a political issue — it’s a human issue,” Condon concludes. “I hope that’s what people come away with.”
Bombshell will be released in theaters December 20, 2019.