Gabriel Sherman gained recognition for his 2014 biography on former chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes. Interviewing more than 600 people, The Loudest Voice in the Room became a New York Times bestseller. The story spawned a drama series for Showtime, The Loudest Voice, where Sherman currently serves as a co-executive producer.
Sunday night’s episode, “2012,” introduced the author into the story, portrayed by actor Fran Kranz. The series is based on Sherman’s research on Ailes and the many questions he had about the Fox founder’s intentions and motives. The writers and Sherman needed to find a way to address Kranz’s character while giving the indication that he is Gabriel Sherman.
“We kind of had to have different ways of talking about it,” Sherman said. “Sometimes we would refer to my character as the journalist, but eventually we would just refer to him as ‘Gabe.’ So it became kind of this out-of-body experience where I was pitching stories and pitching ideas and talking about myself, but in the third person but kind of detached and looking out from the outside.”
Sherman understood Kranz’s method of collecting information about not only the character but journalists as well.
“It was important to him that he wasn’t doing an impersonation of me. He, as an actor, had to come up with his own ideas of what it was like to play a reporter,” he said. “When we had lunch, I imagine he was watching how I talk and my body language, but it wasn’t like he was asking me specific things. He was trying to understand the world that I came from, so that he could embody that character.”
Sherman knew his book was full of stories and moments that could potentially draw in a pitch from TV networks or film directors.
“When I was reporting the book, I kept seeing in my mind that this could be a movie or TV series some day, because Ailes’ life was stranger than fiction,” he said. “I remember joking with my wife at the time that these characters were like our own private TV show. It was this whole fully developed world that I had thrust myself into, and I knew that there was enough there to turn into a drama. I’m just thrilled that Showtime actually was the one who ended up doing it.”
Watch new episodes of Showtime’s limited series The Loudest Voice on Sunday nights at 10/9c.