Gillian Anderson sitting behind a news desk. Image credit: Netflix

Movie Review: Scoop (2024) ***

SCOOP is a lightweight drama about a famous TV interview with Prince Andrew, where he ate his whole entire foot talking about his relationship with trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, as well as allegations of abuse.

My immediate impression of the movie was, “Why did they make that?” There isn’t a lot of incisive material behind the scenes. It focuses on the women who made the interview happen, but only dips a toe into their ambitions, regrets, and the class differences between them. Some time is taken to flesh them out as individuals, but not in any particularly meaty way.

Little drama actually occurs in the setup for the interview. Basically, the news team asks if they can interview him, and Andrew happily accepts. A little time is dedicated to Andrew’s staff fussing about it, but it never grows claws.

The interview itself is loyally performed — but you can just go watch the Andrew interview yourself, if you don’t yet know the prince’s role in the nightmarish sex trafficking that women endured through Epstein and Maxwell.

I suppose the main argument for making such an unembellished version of the interview is that it puts the interview in the news again. And, as the journalists discovered (both in reality and the movie), they just needed to let Andrew speak for himself. He’s his own worst enemy. Yet SCOOP was reluctant to go any deeper than that.

I do get a sense, somewhat, that the filmmakers mostly wanted to show off how well they could transform Rufus Sewell into Prince Andrew — an extremely angular, handsome actor becoming a soft-faced royal he doesn’t ordinarily resemble.

Or perhaps they just wanted to get Billie Piper and Gillian Anderson working together, which is a victory for the lesbians.

The whole thing feel like an ephemeral, fashionable snippet of journalism history. It’s appropriate enough to show in school or watch with your mum. It doesn’t do anything that might risk legal action. It might barely even offend the British royal family, who don’t seem embarrassed enough to tuck Prince Andrew away; he continues to make appearances with the family to this day.

If the intention is to remind us all that Prince Andrew is a predator and buffoon, then it succeeds, and it does it with competent filmmaking. At least the journalism students who have to watch this down the road won’t be bored.

You can watch the original interview with Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight’s YouTube Channel.

Scoop is streaming on Netflix.

(image credit: Netflix)

Leave a Reply