In a conflict reminiscent of the Frost/Nixon interviews of the late 70s, Martin Scorsese and Bill Clinton have reached an impasse regarding control of the former president’s documentary. The documentary, which Scorsese had originally planned to release in time to coincide with Hillary Clinton’s upcoming presidential campaign, has been shelved indefinitely but has not been dismissed entirely, reports the New York Times. The conflict arose when Bill Clinton asked to be given more control over interview questions, as well as approval of the final film prior to its release. Mr. Scorsese was unwilling to consent to the new stipulations.
When the film was announced in December of 2012, Mr. Scorsese seemed amiable and outspoken with respect to Bill Clinton.
“A towering figure who remains a major voice in world issues, President Clinton continues to shape the political dialogue both here and around the world. Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.”
Rolling Stone magazine reports that Bill Clinton was equally responsive to the project.
“I am pleased that legendary director Martin Scorsese and HBO have agreed to do this film. I look forward to sharing my perspective on my years as president, and my work in the years since, with HBO’s audience.”
It seems pride and tenacity have overshadowed that mutual respect, creating a rift between the two men that, at present, cannot be resolved to either Mr. Scorsese’s or Mr. Clinton’s satisfaction. Sources close to the project theorize that Bill is unwilling to allow anything that may harm Hillary’s chances in the upcoming presidential election to be included in the film. There has also been issues arising from Scorsese’s request that Chelsea Clinton, who once served as a correspondent for NBC News, might play some role in the production of the film.
Unwilling to give up creative control of the project, Martin has temporarily shelved the film while he pursues other projects with the hope that these issues might be resolved. Currently, Mr. Scorsese is in Taiwan and unavailable for further comment while he oversees the initial production phases of another film, Silence. Also in the works for Martin are an unauthorized documentary on The Grateful Dead, a proposed Ramones biopic, and a rock and roll series, which also involves Mick Jagger.
Martin Scorsese isn’t the first to dream of a Clinton-based project only to have lost sight of that dream. A backlash from the Republican National Committee and Clinton aides caused CNN to scrap a Hillary Clinton documentary. NBC’s planned miniseries, which would have starred Diane Lane as Hillary, was also cancelled. In 2013, Lionsgate acquired the rights to a feature film that was to focus on the romance between Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, but that film is still struggling through the development process with no word on when filming might begin.
Mr. Scorsese’s film is still in the works, as far as HBO is concerned.
“It’s not happening soon but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen,” a spokesman for the cable network said in a statement.
The Grateful Dead biopic mentioned earlier in this article is scheduled for release on the band’s 50th anniversary.