Martin Scorsese shelves Clinton bio documentary

Legendary director Martin Scorsese has spent the last two years following Bill Clinton around the world, filming his good works and high profile meetings for a documentary of the 42nd president. But now Scorsese has stopped work on the project, claiming Bill Clinton made outrageous demands over control of the final product.

Washington Free Beacon:

The director of Gangs of New York, Casino, The Departed, and Goodfellas disputed with the Clintons about who had final word on the portrayal of America’s 42nd president.

Bill Clinton wanted more control over the interview questions asked and the final cut of the film, the New York Times reported Thursday. When his people passed along his desires after already filming for two years, Scorsese scoffed. Scorsese’s camp, outraged, shelved the project indefinitely.

“Why do historical figures get final edits?” mocked Joe Scarborough. “That’s crazy. That’s just absolutely insane.”

It is atypical for anyone other than a director to get the final say on a film, especially someone as celebrated as Scorsese.

The Clinton camp may have shot itself in the foot, as the documentary was sure to shed a positive light on Bill. Crews followed him to Africa to film Clinton doing charitable work with his foundation and Scorsese is an outspoken fan. Instead, the Clintons get an embarrassing story circulated through the media and no documentary.

Scorsese’s documentary was to be released sometime later this year, around the same time Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her run for the presidency. The dispute highlights how the Clintons are going to extraordinary lengths to control their image as Hillary prepares to run for office.

Those are pretty amazing demands. Control over the final cut? What the hell does Clinton know about editing a film, or filmaking at all?

Apparently, the Clinton team has decided that no documentary is better than one they can't control. This leaves Scorcese in a bind with his investors as well as losing a considerable amount of his personal wealth. Given the length of time spent on making the film, it is possible that some kind of arrangement will be negotiated between the two sides and production will continue. But it's Scorcese who is going to have to come halfway. The Clinton's don't need the film to win the White House while Scorcese needs to finish the film.

In the end, a documentary fluff piece will probably get a lot fluffier.


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