State of Play (2009) is the American adaptation of the 2003 British Conspiracy Thriller miniseries, starring Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.Though State of Play has much in common with investigative thrillers like All the President's Men, the story revolves around the death of print news at the hand of digital media.
This film contains examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The film simplifies most of the plot elements in the BBC miniseries and removes some of the supporting cast's character motivations, but adds a layer of topical subtext (the death of traditional media) and tightens up the script so it's more fast-paced.
- Conspiracy Thriller
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Culture Clash: Cal's old-school form of journalistic integrity clashes with Della's adherence to new media and her blog.
- Current Events Blog: Della runs one of these in the film, although it's more gossip and rumor than anything else.
- Da Editor: Cameron Lynne (similar to the UK series' Cameron Foster character), except it's played by a woman - Helen Mirren.
- Debate and Switch
- Going for the Big Scoop: It almost gets Cal killed.
- Hot Scoop: Della Frye, played by Rachel McAdams.
- Intrepid Reporter
- Never Trust a Trailer: The previews would have you believe that Collins' assistant is shot as she walks through a parking garage. In actuality, she is pushed off a subway platform by an unknown assailant.
- New Media Are Evil: Cal is constantly at odds with his editor over having to work with a blogger, as opposed to a more experienced political reporter.
- No Party Given: Collins's political affiliation is never mentioned.
- Shout-Out: There is a half-hidden photograph of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story) on the wall of McCaffrey's cubicle.
- Using You All Along: What happens when Cal learns Collins used a former Army buddy to keep tabs on the woman he was having an illicit affair with. When the soldier learned that Collins' secret lover was working for a company he resented, he killed her and framed the congressman.