Oscar-winning director Errol Morris (pictured, left) has begun work on a doc looking at the life of former U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld (right), backed by History Films, RADiUS-TWC and Participant Media.
Entitled The Unknown Known: the Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld, the film is being made in association with Moxie Pictures, and also has backing from Netflix in the U.S. and Hanway Films, which will handle international sales.
The doc will be released theatrically next year in North America by RADiUS-TWC, the Weinstein Company’s multi-platform label.
Nancy Dubuc, History’s president and general manager, said: “History Films is honored to be working with RADiUS-TWC, Participant Media and Errol Morris, a world-class filmmaker. The pairing of Errol and Donald Rumsfeld is bound to be a must-see cinematic event.”
Morris, whose best-known films include The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line and Tabloid, added that the film will tell “the story of a remarkable man whose career spans nearly one third of our nation’s history.”
The film promises to draw from extensive hours of filmed interviews and never-before-seen material from Rumsfeld’s private archive, and will see Morris examine the politician’s role in American history, from the Watergate era to the global ‘War on Terror.’ The film’s partners add that the doc will “challenge its audiences to rethink their preconceived notions of power and politics.”
The producers for Moxie Pictures are Robert Fernandez and Amanda Branson Gill. All deals on behalf of the film were negotiated by Josh Braun for Submarine (who will also be an exec producer on the film); attorneys Sue Bodine of Cowan Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard; Peter Grossman of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman; and Jeff Ivers, chief operation officer of Participant Media.
For History Films, the executive producers are Dubuc, Dirk Hoogstra, Julian P. Hobbs and Molly Thompson; while for Participant the exec producers are Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann.
In a joint statement, RADiUS-TWC co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego said: “Having worked on several films with the accomplished folks at the History channel and Participant Media, we could not think of a better team to release what is sure to be a strong contender come awards season.”
Rumsfeld served as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. Additionally, he was a four-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois (1962–1969) and served as White House Chief of Staff from 1974 to 1975.