It’s been 40 years since the Watergate scandal revealed to a horrified American public that politicians are not particularly trustworthy. More importantly, it’s been 36 years since All the President’s Men — the film adaptation of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigative milestone — convinced a generation that handsome journalists with fantastic hair could make a difference if they could only type harder. To celebrate, Robert Redford is getting the President’s gang back together. As regaled by the New York Times, Redford recently met up with the the real-life Woodward and Bernstein, along with their iconically crusty former editor Ben Bradlee (played by the iconically crusty Jason Robards in the movie.)
Redford is currently working on All the President’s Men Revisited, a documentary about Watergate, which will air on the Discovery Channel in January 2013. It’s the debut project from Sundance Productions, a new expansion of the Sundance brand that will focus on creating original TV content. (Notably, Redford is just exec-producing and narrating the doc — the project is being helmed by TV documentarian Peter Schnall.)
The project could be a feast for history buffs and policy wonks. In The Times, Woodward notes that various Nixon subordinates have been waging a ” war against history,” attempting to scrub their former boss’s reputation. As a film fan, though, I’d be a little bit more intrigued to see if the documentary will mention the production of All the President’s Men — including the never-ending debate regarding the film’s screenplay. In his beloved behind-the-scenes book Adventures in the Screen Trade, credited screenwriter William Goldman recalls being suddenly confronted with a new screenplay by Bernstein and his then-wife Nora Ephron — a screenplay which apparently established that Bernstein was a lady-killing badass, which was clearly essential for narrative purposes. Recently, though, Redford alleged that Goldman only contributed about 10 percent of the final product. Oh dear, the movie about a war against history has produced its own war against history! Thanks, Nixon.
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