The lives and careers of New York columnists and friends Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill are subject of an upcoming HBO documentary.
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists delves into the lives of the two writers born and raised in working-class neighborhoods of the Big Apple. The friends rose through the ranks of reporting without formal training or education. Sometimes Hamill and Breslin worked at the same papers, at other times, competing publications.
For five decades, these colorful columnists spoke for ordinary people and examined issues of race, class and the practice of journalism. Among the stories they covered were the Kennedy assassinations, the AIDS epidemic, the Crown Heights and Central Park Jogger cases, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The documentary features archival footage, family archives and interviews with Hamill and Breslin, the latter of whom died in 2017. Additional voices in the film include journalists, cultural figures, editors and those who knew the friends best, including family members, Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Robert De Niro, Andrew Cuomo and Shirley MacLaine.
Michael Rispoli (HBO’s The Deuce) voices passages written by Breslin, while Hamill reads his own work.
Additionally, Deadline Artists recounts the tragedies and personal setbacks, from clashes with paper owners, accusations of racial slander, and the emotional toll taken on Breslin by the death of his first wife, Rosemary in 1981, and his daughters decades later.
The documentary is directed and produced by Jonathan Alter, John Block and Steve McCarthy. For HBO Documentary Films, Nancy Abraham serves as executive producer.
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists debuts Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.ET/PT, exclusively on HBO. The film will also be available on HBO Now, HBO Go, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.