Watch the trailer for Britney vs. Spears, Netflix doc about pop star's conservatorship fight
On Wednesday, the streamer dropped the first full trailer for its upcoming documentary about the "Lucky" singer's ongoing legal battle for control over her life, titled Britney vs. Spears. Directed by Erin Lee Carr, the doc (out Sept. 28) will examine the conservatorship under which Spears has lived since she was 26 years old; she turns 40 in December.
The trailer teases access to confidential court documents and features footage of Spears from throughout her career and voice-over from mostly unidentified experts (one speaker whose name is provided is Adnan Ghalib, the paparazzo who became her boyfriend at the height of her struggles that brought about the conservatorship). Also woven throughout the 90-second trailer is audio from Spears' June 23 testimony, in which she alleged a long list of abuses she's suffered as a conservatee.
The full trailer comes a day after Netflix posted a teaser on Twitter — the company's first public acknowledgment of the doc, about which rumors have swirled for months. That 18-second clip features a snippet of a voicemail, left by Spears for an unnamed lawyer, about "the process of eliminating the conservatorship." The voicemail is from 2009.
The pop star's conservatorship — under which her father, Jamie Spears, has retained primary control over her life, finances, and career — has been in place since early 2008 but remained largely under the radar after the initial media coverage of its inception. Attention to the situation has steadily increased since 2019, when a faction of devoted fans organized to launch the #FreeBritney movement, and fully exploded earlier this year, upon the February release of the FX documentary Framing Britney Spears.
In addition to shedding some light on the conservatorship, which had been so long shrouded in secrecy, the Samantha Stark-directed doc (now streaming on Hulu) paid particular attention to the toxic mid-aughts media culture that aggravated Spears' breakdown as much as it reported it. The response was overwhelming and immediate: Celebrities tweeted their support for the star, the #FreeBritney movement grew almost overnight, and Justin Timberlake was moved to apologize for his treatment of his ex-girlfriend.
Now Britney vs. Spears is poised to push this story to yet another level. Carr's film (which has reportedly been in the works for more than a year) is set to hit Netflix just a day before the next hearing in the conservatorship's court case, which has evolved at such an accelerated rate over the past three months that it's almost hard to keep up. The last major development, though, was a shocking one: On Sept. 7, Jamie Spears filed a petition to terminate the conservatorship entirely. This filing will presumably be addressed at the next court date.
The last time fresh information dropped the day before a Spears hearing was June 22, when The New York Times (which collaborated with FX on Framing Britney Spears as part of the series The New York Times Presents) published a story illuminating Spears' ongoing attempts to remove her father as her conservator or end the arrangement entirely. The next day, a throng of #FreeBritney activists wielding hot-pink signs rallied outside the downtown L.A. courthouse as the "Overprotected" singer addressed Judge Brenda Penny directly for the first time in two years. Audio of the hearing was made available to livestream everywhere, and the world listened as Britney Spears, in explosive testimony, claimed she'd been abused, manipulated, isolated, and improperly medicated under her father's control.
"I just want my life back," she said, sounding clearheaded, determined, and mad as hell. "It's been 13 years and it's been enough."
Check out the trailer above. Britney vs. Spears hits Netflix Sept. 28. Britney Spears returns to court Sept. 29.
- Framing Britney Spears unravels a heartbreaking pop mystery
- Britney Spears speaks in court: 'I just want my life back'
- Britney Spears' father files to end her conservatorship after 13 years
- Framing Britney Spears director Samantha Stark reacts to pop star's testimony: 'This felt so powerful'
- The #FreeBritney movement finds vindication in Britney Spears' hearing: 'We just witnessed history'