The directors of National Geographic’s documentary Fauci, which looks at the life of the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, have revealed that they were “surprised” by how much Anthony Fauci opened up to them in the documentary.
The film, which tracks Fauci’s career from his early days as an infectious disease specialist to more recently overseeing the US’s response to COVID-19, features a scene in which the scientist becomes emotional whilst speaking about the HIV/AIDs outbreak of the 1980’s.
When asked whether they were taken aback by Fauci’s candidness, directors John Hoffman and Janet Tobias told RadioTimes.com in an exclusive interview that the scene was unexpected.
“I think we were surprised because by the time we started interviewing him I had watched an archive of probably over 1,000 interviews he has conducted, starting back in the HIV crisis,” Hoffman said.
“And you see, over those 40 years, you can see him really, really develop as a communicator on public health. No matter who he is talking [to], he is making sure that he’s effective in reaching them with his public health message but he’s not personal. That’s not the purpose of that appearance.
“So in no interview had I ever seen him become emotional and we knew we had to make our film distinct from all of those appearance that continue to this day – he’s on television every single day. So how do we distinguish ourselves from the Dr Fauci that everybody knows from whether it’s CNN or Fox or MSNBC or BBC?
“We knew and he understood instinctively without us having to tell him that this was an interview that was qualitatively, fundamentally different than any other interview he has conducted, but it’s because there’s a trust relationship where he knew us and he knew our history,” he said. “And I think that he knew that I had been in the frontlines of the pandemic too. Maybe that opened up those emotional memories and spaces in his mind that allowed those feelings that you see on camera to come flooding back.”
Tobias added: “I think I am – and I think John is – very grateful to him for allowing us access to his family and his daughter, Jenny, and his [other] two daughters and his wife Christine are all very private people but they shared incredible home movies with us.
“Jenny did the interview with us and they let us film and I think as a family unit they made a decision that they would trust us and allow us into his complete world and life. I think as a team we’re really grateful that because that’s a big decision.”