HBO Documentary Films has acquired worldwide rights to “His Way,” a chronicle of the colorful life and times of producer and talent rep Jerry Weintraub.
Docu was helmed by Douglas McGrath and produced by Graydon Carter, Alan Polsky and Gabe Polsky. Steven Soderbergh and Audrey Rosenberg are exec producers.
The docu comes on the heels of last year’s publication of Weintraub’s autobiography “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead.” “His Way” was financed and produced by Polsky Films in association with Consolidated Documentaries. It will have an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run before bowing on HBO later this year.
The docu features interviews with Weintraub’s array of friends and colleagues spanning the worlds of politics, music and Hollywood. George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Ellen Barkin, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia and Ralph Macchio are among the interviewees.
Weintraub’s career took off when he was in his 20s, arranging tours for Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. He later helped steer the careers of Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, John Denver and Led Zeppelin.
As a movie producer Weintraub’s productions have ranged from critical faves like “Diner” and “Nashville” to blockbusters including “The Karate Kid” and, most recently, the “Ocean’s Eleven” series of star ensemblers.
“Jerry’s success as a producer is legendary, and his prolific career is one that we have admired for years,” said Michael Lombardo, prexy of HBO Programming. “He is also one heck of a storyteller, and it was this ability to narrate his life in the most compelling and entertaining way that drew us to ‘His Way.’ ”
The docu project came together last summer when Vanity Fair boss Carter and Soderbergh, helmer of the “Ocean’s Eleven” series, approached him with the idea. Soderbergh in particular emphasized that the docu would be enriched if Weintraub was willing to be candid about his unusual domestic life. Weintraub is married but lives with another woman — and his wife and girlfriend are best friends.
“Steven told me, ‘That’s the meat of the story. If you have the guts to go there in a documentary, then you’ve really got something,'” Weintraub said. “For me, it’s in the book, I’m not hiding it. So I told him I’d go there.”
Weintraub said his favorite moments in the pic are when Clooney, Pitt and others imitate his streetwise Brooklyn drawl. And he’s been very touched by the affection for him that his many friends express onscreen.
“This is probably the most important time of my life right now,” Weintraub said. “It’s not everybody that gets to look back at what they’ve accomplished and see it on film. And like the book, it’s going to be there forever.”