The upcoming film “Shattered Glass”(Lions Gate Films) tells the true story of Stephen Glass. As a young journalist, Glass spent three years working for The New Republic in the late 1990s but was terminated when his editors realized he had fabricated over 27 of the 41 articles he had written for the magazine.
The film chronicles Glass’ last few weeks of employment at the magazine, a time during which his editor and fellow writers gradually realized the majority of his captivating articles were products of complete fantasy. Throughout his career, Glass wrote false articles for other publications including Harper’s, George and Rolling Stone.
The film stars Hayden Christensen as Glass, along with Chloe Sevigny, Hank Azaria and Peter Sarsgaard as other members of the New Republic staff. “Shattered Glass” has been highly anticipated by the those in the world of journalism, especially since the recent story of Jayson Blair and his fabricated stories at The New York Times.
In a recent Hatchet interview, writer and first-time director Billy Ray discussed his desire to make this film and how he put it all together.
“I loved everything about this story,” Ray said. “I loved the world it was set in. The setting of journalism lends itself to so many interesting ethical questions. I thought the characters were all fascinating. There was nothing about this story that didn’t interest me.”
The real-life Stephen Glass did not contribute to the film; it is based on the accounts of all the other members of the magazine staff.
“I tried to contact Glass when I was writing the script back in 1999,” Ray said. “He didn’t want to talk to me.”
When asked how he justifies creating a real-life character to whom he had no access, many people who had been describing Glass with such unbelievable consistency that I had a very clear idea of who he was. Everyone you talked to would tell you the same story. It was clear what his behavior was.”
Christensen demonstrates this behavior perfectly. His eerie, nerdy manner will make audience members cringe as they watch Glass tell one lie after another at staff meetings. Christensen portrays Glass as the office favorite who fantasizes about interesting stories and defends their validity to unbelievable lengths. By the end of the film, viewers feel as though they have shared the experience with the New Republic staff.
The film sympathizes with Glass’ editor, Chuck Lane (Sarsgaard), who struggles with the slow realization that the office favorite has been deceiving the entire staff. The story plays almost like a news report and leaves many questions about Glass’ motivation unanswered. It is a thought-provoking film that will make people wonder about Glass and the degree to which people will go for recognition and attention.
“Shattered Glass” is a film that wants to tells the truth about a liar. As Ray explains, “The irony of it is if you want to know what happened to Stephen Glass you can’t ask Stephen Glass. You have to come see the movie.”