Ken Burns has made documentaries about subjects from the Vietnam War to the Roosevelts to baseball — and a film about President Donald Trump may be in the future.
Speaking at Variety’s Salute to Service event Monday, Burns said he’d be interested in making a documentary about Trump, but it would have to be 25 or 30 years in the future to allow for a different perspective.
“I would like to try to figure out what all of this meant, coming on the heels of Barack Obama, these major steps backwards that we’ve taken,” Burns said, “and try to understand what it was in the air that made us make these kinds of choices and who he was, and what his motivations were.”
The acclaimed filmmaker said the United States is currently experiencing a “great existential crisis” equal to what it went through during the Depression and the Civil War, when people weren’t sure the country would survive. He criticized Trump for not displaying leadership, such as his recent missing of a ceremony honoring World War I soldiers due to “light mist.”
“Maybe there was something on TV that was more important,” Burns remarked.
Despite the current turmoil, Burns remains optimistic that if he eventually makes the documentary, it would give audiences a “positive look” at the country bouncing back from these divided times, which he calls a “little hiccup.”
“I’d hope that we would look back and say, ‘Wow, we did insist that our better angels be there, not our fear of the other, but the fact that we’ve always been a country of immigrants,'” Burns said.