“The Newspaperman”

“The Newspaperman”

HollywoodOn Productions: Janet Donovan & Brendan Kownacki
Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

“I worked closely with Sally Quinn. She trusted me and that was the biggest thing for me, having Sally’s trust,” director, producer John Maggio told Hollywood on the Potomac about his HBO Documentary on her late husband. The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee premiered at The Newseum in Washington, DC and airs on December 4th, 8 PM on HBO. “Everybody across the board from Kissinger to Woodward and Bernstein to Brokaw really wanted to partake in the film. They wanted to tell not just the little Ben chestnuts, but the real Ben story.” It has been nominated by The Producers Guild of America for its top documentary award and couldn’t be a more timely backdrop to today’s distrust and slamming of the press. “Ben was, at the end of the day, a newspaper man,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler, “and I can’t think of a better maxim that he would embrace than the maxim of today’s Washington Post, which is ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’  Nobody understood that more viscerally than he did.”

John Maggio

“Ben hated lying,” Sally told us. “It drove him crazy. I think that the most important thing about this film is how important the truth is. And I think that the takeaway from this film is that it is the lie that is the enemy of the people, and not the journalists who expose it.  Although he used to say we print lies every day because people lie to us, he also said that the truth will emerge.”

Carl Bernstein, Sally Quinn and Bob Woodward

“None of this, none of this, would have been possible if it were not for the inspiration and the vision, and the passion, and the instinct of Quinn Bradlee,” added Plepler. “He called me up on the phone after he saw our film on Richard Holbrooke and after he saw our film on Nora Ephron and he said, ‘It’s essential that we do something on my dad. And I want to make it happen.’  This was the fastest yes that HBO has ever given and it’s because of the passion and the articulate presentation that Quinn made to us. “

Quinn Bradlee, Sally Quinn and Richard Plepler

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

No story on Ben Bradlee is complete without the names of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the cub reporters that took a president down with the green light given to them by Ben. They both agreed that: “Ben’s interest was in getting the story, and getting it right, and being fair, and respectful to the people we were covering, and that really is the legacy.”

A walk through the newsroom of The Washington Post under Ben Bradlee:

The Trailer: