Seth Rogen has been tapped to play legendary newsman Walter Cronkite in an upcoming drama about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Newsflash will focus on CBS’s coverage of the 1963 Kennedy assassination, according to Deadline, which first reported the news of Rogen’s casting.
The drama will reportedly be directed by David Gordon Green (Stronger, Pineapple Express) from a screenplay by Ben Jacoby. No other casting information was immediately available, although Deadline reported that Mark Ruffalo was being considered for the role of CBS producer Don Hewitt and Bryan Cranston was approached to play CBS president James Aubrey.
CBS interrupted its afternoon broadcast of As the World Turns first to inform viewers that the president had been wounded after his motorcade was fired upon in Dallas, and then Cronkite broke in once more to inform TV viewers that the president had died.
Cronkite went on to have a long and distinguished career as one of the country’s best-known journalists, and was referred to as “the most trusted man in America.” He died in 2009.
Here’s more from Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. on the thrust of the film’s plot:
Aubrey plays the role of antagonist here. Under pressure from William Paley to show profit, Aubrey felt CBS Evening News wasn’t performing, and wasn’t saucy enough. He threatened to remove Cronkite, and possibly scrap the whole evening newscast for programming with greater audience appeal. Faced with a lack of news gathering resources from local news affiliates, and even having to scramble to break into soap opera programming from the newsroom because when the on set lights and cameras took forever to warm up, Hewitt, Cronkite and their team proved their mettle. Their task: to filter all the unverified information and swirling rumors and find the truth that was conveyed to heartbroken Americans glued to their TV sets. Their efforts play out in real time, in a way that makes Newsflash a close cousin to the Steven Spielberg-directed The Post in chronicling a seminal moment in journalism.
Rogen has done dramatic roles before, most notably as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs. He is coming off of the just-released comedy The Disaster Artist, alongside James Franco.
The Canadian actor made media headlines of his own this week when he dropped out of scheduled appearances on SiriusXM satellite radio to protest Steve Bannon, who returned as a regular host of Breitbart News Daily this month.
Green previously directed Rogen in the action-comedy Pineapple Express.
Newsflash will reportedly begin shooting early next year, with a release planned around the 55th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum