Since Nothing But the Truth is about a reporter going to jail to protect a source, people may assume it is based on Judith Miller. The idea dates back to writer/director Rod Lurie's short-lived TV series, Commander in Chief, so there.
Rod Lurie Directs Nothing But the Truth
"I had this idea about a reporter writes a book about Geena Davis's character," Lurie said. "There's all sorts of classified information there so they send him to jail for not revealing his sources. The twist was going to be that Geena was going to pardon him because even though it was bad stuff printed about her, in this country we don't throw our journalists into jail. We shouldn’t. Then I was unceremoniously fired from the show and Stephen Bocchco came in to save it, to save a number one show, and took a blowtorch to every idea I had. I don't necessarily blame him, but that was one of those."
Perhaps the vaults of unwritten Commander in Chief scripts can be the sequel. "In fact, now that I come to think about it, I had something like 10 or 15 storylines. I've got 10 or 15 movies now thanks to Stephen that maybe I can put together."
The Judith Miller/Valerie Plame case did influence Lurie's story in that it brought to light more potential details of the first amendment issue to explore. "Then Judy Miller went to jail. This movie's not about her. Anyone that sees it knows it's not about Judith Miller, but it's about a woman in a similar circumstance. I just started wondering what would happen if the reporter had kids and the CIA agent had kids."
The first amendment issues combine Lurie's areas of expertise, journalism and politics. Perhaps Truth leans more towards the political, since Lurie's previous film, Resurrecting the Champ focused on ethics in journalism.
"That movie was about the competition to get a story out was so severe that it limits the quality of journalism. This movie wanted to be focused on something else, a very human story that deals with motherhood and deals with the shield law and the first amendment specifically. It deals more with the governmental side really than it does on the journalism side, I think."
Nothing But the Truth opens Today in New York at the E-Walk in Times Square and Los Angeles at the Crest in Westwood.