Docs

HBO preps doc on infamous lawyer and Donald Trump mentor Roy Cohn

U.S. premium cable network HBO has set a feature-length doc about controversial lawyer Roy Cohn to debut in 2019. Cohn is best known for his work as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man ...
November 8, 2018

U.S. premium cable network HBO has set a feature-length doc about controversial lawyer Roy Cohn to debut in 2019.

Cohn is best known for his work as Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man during his anti-communist hearings, and as an early mentor to Donald Trump in the 1970s.

Director Ivy Meeropol is the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, prosecuted by Cohn under McCarthy as the “atomic spies,” under suspicion of spying for the Soviet Union. Cohn would later insist on the Rosenbergs’ execution, carried out in 1953.

The as-yet untitled doc relies on newly unearthed archival material, including audiotapes of candid discussions between Cohn and journalist Peter Manso, recorded at the height of Cohn’s career as a power broker in New York business and political circles, with a focus on family, friends, colleagues, employees and lovers.

The film also includes interviews with playwright Tony Kushner, whose Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning play Angels in America featured Cohn as a main character, as well as actor Nathan Lane, who portrayed Cohn. Lane offers his perspective on how dangerous Cohn was and how he wielded power through invective and innuendo.

The doc is produced by Motto Pictures and Red 50 Production for HBO Documentary Films. It is produced by Meeropol, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn, with co-producer Peter Manso. Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller serve as executive producers for HBO.

“The time has come for audiences to understand a man who, while hiding so much of himself from the world, has had a profound influence on our society, even to this day,” said Meeropol, in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with HBO Documentary Films to bring this remarkable story to life.”

The as-yet untitled documentary comes on the heels of another Roy Cohn doc, Where’s My Roy Cohn?, produced by Matt Tyrnauer and Corey Reeser for Altimeter Films and repped by Endeavor Content.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

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