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.
- What Could Have Been: Brad Pitt and Edward Norton (Fight Club) were set to reunite in the film when it was first being written. Pitt pulled out because of a scriptwriters' strike in Hollywood, and Norton signed onto another movie.