Film explores Cohn's nefarious influence on American politics, from abetting Sen. Joe McCarthy's Communist witch hunt to mentoring Donald Trump
Sony Pictures Classics has scooped up rights to Matt Tyrnauer's incisive documentary Where's My Roy Cohn? just days after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
The SPC deal covers North America, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Australia, Asia and Latin America, among other territories, and includes rights to air the film on airlines and cruise ships. It ensures a wide audience will get to see the film, which makes a compelling case for Roy Cohn as a corrupt and unscrupulous manipulator who sullied American politics by exploiting the basest fears of the electorate.
"As a filmmaker I have always had the greatest admiration for Sony Pictures Classics, and their extraordinary taste and curatorial eye," Tyrnauer said in a statement. "They have been behind many of the films I admire most. I can’t think of a better company to bring this film and its message to theatrical audiences across the nation and beyond."
Among those who benefitted from Cohn's mastery of the dark political arts were presidents Nixon and Reagan, Sen. Joe McCarthy, real estate magnate Fred Trump and his son Donald. He also tutored Roger Stone, who served as an informal adviser to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Tyrnauer noted that his film premiered on the same day Stone was charged with obstruction of justice, making false statements and witness tampering. Stone's indictment stems from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and administration with Russia.
Tyrnauer's film suggests Donald Trump learned important lessons from Cohn, including to never admit wrongdoing and always attack instead of defend. The title of the film refers to a line Trump is reported to have said in frustration over his inability to use the Justice Department to serve his personal and political ends.
In his statement Tyrnauer noted, "The Sundance reception for ‘Where’s My Roy Cohn?’ has been overwhelming, affirming in the extreme."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.