Audible and Fresh Produce Media will launch The Big Lie, an immersive, cinematic seven-part audio drama series about the making of Salt of the Earth—the only movie named to the “Hollywood Blacklist”— and the FBI agent, played by Jon Hamm, who tried to shut it down. Created by Executive Producer John Mankiewicz (House of Cards; Bosch; House, M.D.), from a story by Salt producer Paul Jarrico, co-written by Jamie Napoli, directed by Aaron Lipstadt (Bosch, Elementary, Medium), The Big Lie also stars Kate Mara, Ana de la Reguera, John Slattery, Bradley Whitford, Lisa Edelstein, Giancarlo Esposito, David Strathairn, and more, premiering on Audible on June 16. Jon Hamm will also Executive Produce the series.
Executive Producer John Mankiewicz said, “Because this was an entertaining and important story of a dark, complicated time in a divided America, I’ve always felt I owed it to Paul Jarrico and all the victims of the “Hollywood Blacklist” to get it told in the best possible way. Audio was the perfect medium to bring The Big Lie to life, and Fresh Produce Media and Audible were the perfect team.”
Jon Hamm said, "When John and Aaron came to me with the idea for The Big Lie, it was an automatic yes. Exploring the consequences of what happens when governments try to quiet the voices of the people—especially working people—is a theme that resonates with me deeply in 2022, so getting to both act in and executive produce this series was very rewarding. And getting to tell this story over audio, in a format that mirrors the way audiences might have actually heard it over the radio in the 1950s, made it all the more authentic."
With The Big Lie, Mankiewicz, Fresh Produce Media, and Audible bring together an all-star ensemble and production team to transport listeners to 1950’s Hollywood, the height of the “Red Scare,” as a trio of outcast filmmakers try to make a movie that dramatized their pro-labor, pro-feminist beliefs while suffering a conspiracy of active sabotage efforts from the U.S. government, the Hollywood studio system and Howard Hughes. Denounced on the floor of Congress, confronted with riots, shootings and arson, the cast and crew risked their lives to produce Salt of The Earth, a forgotten masterpiece of American cinema.
A passion project for more than two decades, Mankiewicz ultimately decided The Big Lie was right for his first project in audio. The narrative podcast medium allowed Mankiewicz to drop listeners into the paranoid 1950s, making use of FBI surveillance tapes and phone taps as FBI Agent Jack Bergin (Hamm) tightens the noose. Working with a large cast, director Aaron Lipstadt elicited performances that maximized tension and emotional impact. In a rare move for the industry, each episode features an original score by GRAMMY-award winning, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated composer David Mansfield (Heaven’s Gate, TransAmerica, Broken Trail). The authentic 1950s soundscape was created by Emmy-nominated sound designers Joshua Paul Johnson (Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, Jane) and Peter Bawiec (Modern Family, Midway) and podcast producer Matt Schrader (Blockbuster).
Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios, said, “The talent assembled for The Big Lie – from the renowned ensemble cast led by Jon Hamm to the writing genius that is John Mankiewicz – is a testament to Audible’s commitment to celebrating unexpected formats and elevating audio entertainment at every turn. We are so grateful to be the home to John Mankiewicz’s first foray into this space and want to thank our team at Fresh Produce for their collaboration on this provocative and brilliant narrative that takes our art form to new heights.”
Colin Moore, CCO of Fresh Produce, said, “The Big Lie demonstrates the magic that can happen when storytellers from Hollywood and Audible come together to make an ambitious project. From the actors to the composer, casting director, and sound editor, we made something that we think will open the doors to new, exciting kinds of stories being told in audio.
“All together, the talent assembled off-and-on-mic for the show marks a major step forward in the narrative possibilities of audio, and the creative opportunities of the podcast genre to tell stories previously reserved for TV and film only.”
The Big Lie will join a series of best-in-class Audible Originals including The Coldest Case from James Patterson, performed by Aaron Paul, Krysten Ritter and Nathalie Emmanuel, the #1 New York Times best-selling audio fiction The Sandman from Neil Gaiman, performed by James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Michael Sheen, Keegan-Michael Key’s The History of Sketch Comedy, Killing Hollywood: The Cotton Club Murder performed by Rainn Wilson, Christian Slater and Juliette Lewis, and The Miranda Obsession, executive produced and performed by Rachel Brosnahan and a full cast, and many more.
ABOUT FRESH PRODUCE MEDIA
Fresh Produce Media is a talent-driven audio entertainment company founded to meet the moment, as new and diverse opportunities for innovation and audiences shape what narrative audio content can be. From historical fiction and documentaries to sports- and music-focused stories, Fresh Produce’s roster of series brings a range of genres – and a consistency of quality – that sets it apart.
Founder Jason Ross built his career in different mediums of audio (from recording and touring, to music live streaming, and starting and successfully exiting a music-focused creative agency) before coming full-circle with Fresh Produce and narrative audio.
Combining his penchant for identifying the next big thing and diving head-first into emerging industries with his audio know-how and passion for storytelling, Ross recruited a team of founding partners to propel narrative audio into the mainstream.
Colin Moore built a career developing great stories and finding the best means of telling them; Maureen Traynor brings cutting-edge understanding of the intersection of audio content and emerging commercial models honed over a career at Spotify; and Joe Killian has spent his Emmy-winning career at the highest levels of music and entertainment finding new ways to identify and shape cultural trends and moments.