Gonzo for Gibney

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I'm pretty sure this is a record setter (it's definitely my longest entry ever).  But as Bob put it, documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is making his fourth appearance on a program that's not yet four years old.  Gibney is here to discuss his latest project - "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" - which is being released this weekend.  Gibney has previously been on to talk about some of his other films like "The Smartest Guys in the Room" which documents the collapse of Enron, "The Human Behavior Experiments," and earlier this year, he told us about "Taxi to the Darkside" which examined questions of torture and military interrogation techniques used during the war on terror.  It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature this year AND a Peabody Award.  Despite those honors, the film did not do well at the box office and Gibney is suing its distributor.  He has submitted a demand for arbitration against ThinkFilms, which he says hid the fact that it did not have the financial capability to distribute the movie after the awards.  But "Taxi to the Darkside" will be broadcast on HBO September 30 and it will also be released on DVD on the same date.

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Alex Gibney's latest film is called "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson."  It's narrated by actor Johnny Depp who portrayed Thompson in the bizarre feature film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" which of course, was based on the bizarre book of the same name written by Thompson.  We'll also hear about Hunter's fascination with guns, alcohol, politics, the American Dream, the Hell's Angels, mind-altering drugs and the invention of Gonzo journalism at the 1970 Kentucky Derby.  What exactly does gonzo mean?  Gibney provides an explanation in the interview.  And so does Hunter Thompson's friend, illustrator and collaborator, Ralph Steadman.  He drew the ink-splattered paintings that accompanied some of Hunter Thompson's best-known works -- and as Alex Gibney puts it, the pair was like the Batman and Robin of counter-culture journalism.  Their connection worked because somehow Steadman could see in pictures what Hunter could say in words. 

 

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The next long-term project for Alex Gibney is an in-depth documentary about Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, but the next thing you'll be able to see is a film about the Jack Abramoff scandal and how money perverts our political process.  It's working title is "Casino Jack and the United States of Money."  I'm so sorry to go on - and on and on - but Alex Gibney is one of my favorite guests and a very skillful artist.  When we interview him, I have the opportunity to work closely with the audio of his productions.  I always notice and appreciate lots of little things that make each project stand out as the work of a true professional.  Little things that he clearly put a great deal of thought into, in order to reward the person who watches or listens closely enough.  It's what I strive for in every one of my productions and I believe that over the course of 30 minutes or two hours -- those little things add up to something special.  I hope you agree and I hope you appreciate Alex Gibney's films as much as I do.

-Chad

Click here to see the trailer for "Gonzo."

Click here to see when and where "Gonzo" is playing near you.