Director Oliver Stone unveiled details on his latest, a 10-hour doc series on Showtime called Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America. Well, the secret’s out: The show will include reexaminations of some of history’s biggest villains. “Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,” Stone said at the TCA. “Stalin has a complete other story… Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and its been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions.” Insert record-scratch noise here.
Stone is a lightning rod for political controversy, and the guy knows what he’s doing: Gee, do you think telling a room full of reporters that you’ve “been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes to understand their point of view” might get your show some coverage? Hint: It’s working!
Buzz-baiting aside, Stone also said that he doesn’t want to “put out conventional History Channel product,” which is actually something I and other geeks can get behind. The genre of historical TV doc has gotten seriously stale — the last time anyone really shook it up was 2006’s 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, so we’re more than due for a fresh take. Stone’s insistence that he feels “empathy” for his subjects just makes me even more curious.
What about you, PopWatcher history buffs? Will you watch a Stone-made show?
Image credit: James Porto/SHOWTIME