Friday, September 25, 2015

John Norris's "Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism by John Norris.

The entry begins:
The folks over at Word & Film make a strong case for making a Mary McGrory biopic, and I am certainly not one to argue. What’s not to like about the story of a trailblazing woman journalist barnstorming around the country and mixing it up with everyone from JFK to George W. Bush? But perhaps even more than fiction, the casting of the lead is crucial in non-fiction. In Mary’s case, we need someone who is convincingly tough enough to play a woman who made it is an almost exclusively male industry in the 1950s and 60s, but who is also graced with a bit of mischief and flirtation. An actress who can carry off the role of one of the most important liberal voices in the second half of the 20th century, but who was distinctly proper, and sometimes almost Victorian, in her mannerisms. A woman who loved a cigarette and a good stiff drink but who, literally, helped out at the local orphanage on weekends.

There were certainly times when I was writing or interviewing people for the book that a young Katherine Hepburn leapt to my mind, and Mary was every bit as proud, independent and strong-willed as the characters that Hepburn brought so memorably to life. Mary never gave an inch when bantering back and forth with politicians or fellow reporters, and she was as comfortable quoting Yeats from memory as she was debating the merits of candidates with local ward bosses. As Bobby Kennedy once observed, “Mary is so gentle until she gets behind a typewriter.”

But casting someone from the silver age seems almost like cheating, as does every author’s answer that Meryl Streep should play their female lead. So what modern actresses could best fill Mary’s shoes? Kate...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at John Norris's Facebook page, Twitter perch, and website.

My Book, The Movie: Mary McGrory.

--Marshal Zeringue