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Tag: Documentary (14-26 of 36)

Martin Scorsese to direct Bill Clinton doc for HBO

The United States’s 42nd president is finally getting his close-up.

HBO announced today that Martin Scorsese will direct and produce a documentary about Bill Clinton for the cable channel. This will be the Oscar winner’s fourth collaboration with HBO; Scorsese helmed a pair of HBO documentaries in 2011 and 2010, as well as the pilot of Boardwalk Empire the latter year. The new film will be made with Clinton’s full cooperation — much like 41, the HBO doc about George H.W. Bush that premiered last summer.

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Oliver Stone on his new Showtime documentary series 'Untold History of the United States'

Oliver Stone has more than tackled — he’s practically smothered himself — in controversial politics on film, from directing 1986′s Vietnam classic Platoon to features about presidents (Nixon, JFK, W.) to Wall Street, its sequel, multiple documentaries on Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and beyond. So when Stone told journalists at a small press dinner EW attended on Monday night celebrating next week’s Blu-ray release of his latest film Savages about his upcoming Showtime documentary series Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, he sounded uncharacteristically nervous.

He’s worked on the ten-episode TV series — which premieres its first episode next Monday, Nov. 12 — since February 2008, for four and a half years.

“You can understand, I’m a little bit on edge,” said Stone. “I’ve delivered seven episodes, but eight’s almost done, and nine and ten are still in the process. When you see one hour, you’ll understand the work that goes into it. It’s like ten movies.”

The episodes delve into what Stone sees an under-reported events throughout the 20th century, from the bombing of Japan during World War II to the fall of Communism. He worked with Peter Kuznick, a history professor at American University.

“It started as an atomic bomb movie, because I was born in that age,” Stone said. “We thought it would make a great film, but it would also make a great documentary. … Because of Bush, it was 2008, and I was so upset with the nightmare our country was going through. I decided to expand it to understand George Bush, and how he could get away with this. As crooked as the 2000 election was, with the 2004 election, ‘How could we vote the guy into office for what he’s done?’”

A passion project, the series was a long, twisty road, diverging him from movies.

“It detoured me from my film career,” Stone acknowledged. “I could have done five movies in those years instead of three. But I’ll be back, I hope.”

Read more:
Oliver Stone on Obama: ‘I hope he wins’

PBS doc 'Half the Sky': Meg Ryan, Diane Lane and America Ferrera on combating gender violence

The air in the room is heavy when Meg Ryan, Diane Lane and America Ferrera take a seat at a large round table for their chat with Entertainment Weekly at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The subject at hand — gender violence — is a tough one to tackle, but not talking about it directly contradicts the mission that brought all the women together for the PBS documentary Half the Sky.

The two-part, four-hour doc, based on the bestselling novel of the same name, begins airing tonight on the network. And if follows the actresses, normally seen to audiences in a number of beloved movies and television shows, in the belly of a very real global issue. (On the second page, watch an exclusive clip from Ryan’s segment, airing tonight.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about what drew each of you to this specific cause and project.
DIANE LANE: After reading the book, I was so electrified by the heroism I’d read. READ FULL STORY

Stanley Tucci tapped as host of PBS' documentary series -- EXCLUSIVE

Make some room, Maggie Smith: The newest distinguished face on PBS is actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci, who EW can exclusively report has been tapped as the host of the network’s long-running documentary series Independent Lens.

The Hunger Games and Devil Wears Prada star follows in a long time of distinguished past Independent Lens hosts, including Mary-Louise Parker, America Ferrera, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Susan Sarandon, Terrence Howard, Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, and Don Cheadle.

“Stanley Tucci truly embodies the spirit and essence of Independent Lens,” says Lois Vossen, Lens’ senior producer. “Incapable of giving a bad performance, he owns each role, yet continues to surprise audiences with every new character. His acclaimed work as an actor, director, producer, and screenwriter demonstrates how much he understands what it means to be an independent filmmaker. We are deeply honored that he chose to support our series.”

Independent Lens launched in August 1999, and the coming Tucci-hosted season — which features Brad Lichtenstein’s As Goes Janesville on Oct. 8, before fully launching on Oct. 29 with Macky Alston’s Sundance award-winning documentary Love Free or Die — will be its eleventh. The series airs at 10 p.m. on Monday.

To mark the announcement of his new hosting duties, Tucci recorded a short video, which EW has exclusively below.

“I’ve been on both sides of the camera, and I can tell you: There’s no easy way to make these films,” Tucci says of the series’ documentaries. “Behind every risk-taking expose and intimate portrait is an independent filmmaker who has spent years building trust, gaining access, and getting the story right. In the end, you get a great film told with passion told with passion and perspective.”

Watch the clip here:

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The Odd Couple: Tom Hanks and Bill O'Reilly pair up for 'Killing Lincoln'

Tom Hanks and Bill O’Reilly don’t always see eye-to-eye on things. Earlier this year, Hanks narrated an Obama re-election campaign video, a job that O’Reilly quickly dismissed as “career suicide.” Then, when an old home video turned up that captured Hanks at a 2004 private school fundraiser where a parent donned blackface as part of an ill-conceived skit, the Oscar-winning actor apologized to the Fox News personality because he name-checked him as a desperate punchline during the awkward videotaped banter.

But both men share a passion for history, with Hanks a star and producer of huge Hollywood films about World War II and the space race, and O’Reilly the author of a best-selling book about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Today, the National Geographic Channel — which is also partially owned by News Corp, the parent of Fox News — announced that the two will team up to turn O’Reilly’s book, Killing Lincoln, in to a two-hour television event. READ FULL STORY

George H.W. Bush to be featured in HBO documentary

As politicians go, George H.W. Bush is a fairly private person. Unlike Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or even his son George W. Bush, the United States’ 41st president has never written an autobiography or memoir — though Bush did publish a volume filled with personal letters, diary entries, and memos in 2000.

But come June, we’ll get an inside look at Bush’s story. Reuters writes that the former president is the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary, aptly named 41. In the doc, Bush reflects on his life thus far, including his experiences as an aviator in World War II, his time as the director of the CIA, and his presidency, which lasted from 1989 to 1993. The movie was filmed over the course of 17 months at both Bush’s presidential library in Texas and his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The Jeffrey Roth-directed doc will premiere June 14 — two days after Bush turns 88 years old. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' preview: Cliffside egg collecting in the Arctic -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

On this Sunday’s installment of Discovery’s Frozen Planet, “Life in the Freezer,” the focus turns to the humans who call the Arctic home and the extreme lengths that they must go to survive when frozen ground makes growing crops impossible. In this clip, a man trusts his life to the strength of his friends and an old nylon rope as he scales a 300-foot cliff to collect guillemot eggs. Watch below. READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' makers on near-death experiences, passing time at the poles, and being driven mad by penguins -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

This Sunday, Discovery premieres what could be the most fascinating hour of its seven-part polar exploration series Frozen Planet — the making-of. We already talked with series producer Vanessa Berlowitz and director Chadden Hunter about how this installment is for them — especially in the case of revisiting the solo bison-wolf battle captured in last week’s “Winter” episode – a therapy session. (“We wanted to basically take the viewer’s hand and say, ‘Okay, this was emotional to watch, but we go through the same emotions when we film it,’” Hunter said.) Now, we probe deeper into what life was like for the crew during the four-year production. Here’s what we learned:

• Though penguins can drive a man mad — watch our exclusive clip below from “The Making of Frozen Planet” — they are still awesome

CHADDEN HUNTER: The sun doesn’t set, but you’re trying to sleep on the sea ice. You put your head down, and you can hear the seal voices through the ice. The Weddell seals have this beautiful alien-like song. So you have them going off beneath your pillow while outside around your tent, all the Emperor penguins are coming up to be curious. You can see the shadows on your tent getting closer and closer. [Makes penguin noises.] And of course, they’ll trip over your tent wires. [Makes flustered penguin noises.] They’ll get all grumpy, and then they’ll circle the tent again and trip over the tent wires again.

VANESSA BERLOWITZ: I got harassed by Adélie penguins. We had David Attenborough there, trying to do a piece with him and record sound. I was trying to take some still photographs of David with the penguins, and I put my lens down next to me, and I hear this kind of rolling sound. I look, and a penguin is pushing my lens down the hill toward his nest. He was thinking, This is a really big rock. Clearly showing off for the females. Classic male behavior. The longer the lens. [Laughs] Then I smell this smell next to me, and a penguin has pooed in my still case. That happens all the time. Your gear is covered in poo. We put up a stand with a microphone on it, and in order to stop the wind’s effect, you put something fluffy over it. So I was listening, and I heard this scratching sound. There was a penguin on the microphone, seemingly trying to mate.  READ FULL STORY

Robert Redford making 'All the President's Men Revisited' for Discovery

It’s been 40 years since the Watergate scandal revealed to a horrified American public that politicians are not particularly trustworthy. More importantly, it’s been 36 years since All the President’s Men — the film adaptation of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigative milestone — convinced a generation that handsome journalists with fantastic hair could make a difference if they could only type harder. To celebrate, Robert Redford is getting the President’s gang back together. As regaled by the New York Times, Redford recently met up with the the real-life Woodward and Bernstein, along with their iconically crusty former editor Ben Bradlee (played by the iconically crusty Jason Robards in the movie.) READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' preview: A seal pup reunites with its mother, Alec Baldwin narrates crazy caribou foreplay -- EXCLUSIVE CLIPS

Have you recovered from the Orca “wave wash” scene in the Frozen Planet premiere? We hope so, because nature’s emotional roller-coaster ride continues in the next installment of the seven-part series from the makers of Planet Earth. In “Summer” (premiering Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery), you’ll watch an adorable fur seal pup get caught between two 400 lb. bulls fighting for females. Warning: The battle is brutal, but the reunion between the lost pup and its mother is joyous. Watch it below. In our second exclusive clip, you just have to trust that the music and narrator Alec Baldwin wouldn’t sound so upbeat if the scene of a female caribou being chased by a herd of “amorous males” ended the way you’re worried it might… READ FULL STORY

'Frozen Planet' Q&A: Why you'll be happy you have HD this weekend

This Sunday, Discovery debuts the new seven-part series Frozen Planet, from the makers of Planet Earth and Life. During four years of production, the temperatures went as low as -58°F and the winds as high as 148 miles per hour. In total, the crew spent 2,356 days in the field, 840 hours trapped in blizzards, and 134 hours filming under the ice. Among the jaw-dropping footage seen in the first two programs premiering Sunday: the killer whale “wave wash” behavior in which orcas swim in a line to make waves that knock a seal off an ice floe, and a pack of 25 patient wolves working together to separate a bison from its herd. We sat down with series producer Vanessa Berlowitz and director Chadden Hunter. READ FULL STORY

West Memphis Three doc 'Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory' to debut on HBO -- EXCLUSIVE TRAILER

The release of the famed West Memphis Three earlier this year captivated even those who just tangentially knew about the case, i.e. the three then-teenagers who were convicted in 1994 — wrongly, in the view of many — of murdering three boys in West Memphis, Ark. One of the central engines of their release was the Paradise Lost documentaries by directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who had just finished their third film on the case, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, two days before Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols stepped out of a Jonesboro, Ark., courthouse as free men.

After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, the filmmakers amended their film with footage from the remarkable conclusion to this nearly two-decade long ordeal, which then played at the New York Film Festival. The documentary will have its exclusive public debut on HBO on Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Check out the exclusive trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Morgan Spurlock on his new web series 'Failure Club' -- EXCLUSIVE

Morgan Spurlock knows a thing or two about failure. Almost 10 years ago, he had been evicted from his apartment and was sleeping in a hammock in his office as he tried to dig himself out of $250,000 in debt. He “decided to roll the dice” and make one more film. That film became his Oscar-nominated documentary Supersize Me.

Spurlock uses his experiences to inform his role as mentor to the participants of Failure Club, a new series premiering on Yahoo! Screen this Friday. EW chatted with Spurlock about the show, which follows seven people who want to change their lives over the course of a year. READ FULL STORY

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