×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

HBO’s Rolling Stone Doc Directors Talk UVA Scandal, Magazine Sale at Premiere

For the last 18 months, documentary filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Foster have been crafting a love letter to Jann Wenner’s 50-year-old magazine, Rolling Stone.

The result?

A four-hour, two-part HBO doc, “Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge,” which made its premiere on Monday at New York’s Florence Gould Hall.

“We didn’t want to do a special,” Gibney explained. “We wanted to do a documentary that really looked at some of the key pieces that Rolling Stone had done over the years and it seemed like a good time to celebrate that since we are at a time when print journalism is under attack.”

The recently released biography, “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine,” which has been rumored to be a tad less loving, is not connected to the film.

Before the screening, HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler described the pressure that came with commissioning the project. “It was both a privilege and a huge responsibility because we wanted to get it exactly right and do Jann and the magazine justice.”

The doc comes on the heels of news that Rolling Stone is up for sale. Wenner, the magazine’s co-founder and publisher, said in September that he hoped to find a buyer “with lots of money.”

“There’s a bitter irony there,” said Gibney at the film’s after party at the Pool – formerly the Four Seasons. “So this is our way of saying that line from ‘Death of a Salesman’ – ‘attention must be paid.'”

The series traces the iconic magazine’s emergence and the moments that have shaped it over its 50 years. The film includes unheard recordings from journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, interviews with Bruce Springsteen as well as the infamous 2014 publication of “A Rape on Campus,” the article — later retracted — that spoke of a brutal sexual assault at a University of Virginia fraternity house. Rolling Stone paid out $1.65 million to the Phi Kappa Psi chapter of UVA after the fraternity sued for $25 million.

“This film is not without its critical moments,” Gibney said. “We go into the (UVA) piece in part two.”

Despite the high cost of licensing hits from Springsteen, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Tina Turner, popular music is sprinkled throughout the doc.

“Getting the rights was a long, difficult process,” Foster said. “What really saved us was that we were making a film about Rolling Stone magazine. If you say to a musician, ‘this is a doc about that magazine,’ then they of course want to be a part of it.”

HBO will run the doc over two nights, starting Nov. 6.

(Pictured: Jann Wenner with documentary filmmakers Blair Foster and Alex Gibney)

More Scene

  • Lilli Cooper Tootsie

    How the 'Tootsie' Musical Was Updated for the #MeToo Era

    Turning the beloved 1982 comedy “Tootsie” into a 21st century musical already seemed like a challenge when work on the adaptation began back in 2016. Then the #MeToo movement revved up — and the writers knew they couldn’t tell Dorothy’s story for a modern audience without it. “It’s different than it was when the movie [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Taylor Swift Time 100 Performance

    Watch Taylor Swift's Time 100 Gala Performance and Speech

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content