An HBO biopic of former President Bill Clinton created by award-winning director Martin Scorsese was shelved because Clinton wanted approval over the final cut of the movie.
Announced in late 2012, the Clintons hoped the movie would generate nostalgia for a Clinton administration amid Hillary’s expected run for the Presidency in 2016. At the time the movie was announced, Scorsese described the movie:
A towering figure who remains a major voice in world issues, President Clinton continues to shape the political dialog both here and around the world. Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.
As the director of some of the most iconic movies of this generation, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, and Cape Fear, Scorsese is not one to turn over approval for the final cut of his movies. But according to the New York Times, that’s exactly what Bill Clinton wanted:
Mr. Scorsese’s partly finished documentary about Mr. Clinton — which once seemed likely to be released as Hillary Rodham Clinton was navigating a presidential run — has stalled over disagreements about control, people briefed on the project said.
Though parts of the film were shot over the last two years as Mr. Clinton made a philanthropic visit to Africa and elsewhere, the project is now indefinitely shelved, partly because Mr. Clinton insisted on more control over the interview questions and final version than Mr. Scorsese was willing to give, those people said.
Apparently as his wife got to running for the presidency, the former President realized the project had risks:
Clearly, the film carried the risk that an unflattering camera angle, unwelcome question or even an obvious omission by Mr. Scorsese would become a blemish to Mr. Clinton’s legacy or provide fodder for Clinton critics as the 2016 campaign approaches. Apparently to avoid such problems, people close to Mr. Clinton sought to approve questions he would be asked in the film, and went so far as to demand final cut, a privilege generally reserved for directors of Mr. Scorsese’s stature.
Mr. Scorsese’s camp rejected those suggestions and the project was shelved. The film now appears to be years away from completion.
There is no indication when (or if) the project will be completed.