ComingSoon.net has interviewed documentary director Alex Gibney more than a few times going back to his Oscar-nominated doc Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room five years ago, and 2010 has been a particularly busy year with the release of his Jack Abramoff doc Casino Jack and the United States of Money, the HBO film “My Trip to Al-Qaeda” and a segment for the doc anthology Freakonomics.
The year culminates with the release of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, a look at the former New York Attorney General and Governor who ended his political career in scandal after being caught having dalliances with high-priced escorts.
Working again with Peter Elkind, co-writer of the book on which Gibney’s “Enron” movie was based, Gibney has assembled a comprehensive look at Spitzer’s time as Attorney General trying to keep Wall Street analysts and corporate fatcats honest long before the economic crash of 2008 before becoming Governor and trying to create order in Albany. Simultaneously, the film acts as a primer to the world of high-priced Manhattan escorts and how a powerful politician like Spitzer could have been drawn to that world.
Client 9 doesn’t just include an amazing and unprecedented interview with Spitzer himself, one where he takes full responsibility for his own actions, but it also features a number of entertaining characters who were delighted by Spitzer’s fall from grace such as New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, his consultant Roger Stone and Hank Greenberg, the CEO of AIG (American International Group). The personality that will leave the most lasting impression is that of Cecil Suwal, the bubbly 23-year-old CEO of the Emperors Club escort agency that Spitzer frequented until he got caught. Gibney was also able to meet and interview “Angelina,” the camera-shy escort who spent more time with Spitzer than any of the other girls who came forward, her statements reenacted by a hired actress.
ComingSoon.net had a chance to catch a work-in-progress version of Client 9 at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, but we finally had our first chance to talk to Alex Gibney about the movie this past week, our first interview with the filmmaker since 2008’s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson.
In the video interview below, we discuss:
* The differences working with Peter Elkind this time around
* The process of getting Spitzer to talk on camera
* A tangent into not getting Jack Abramoff for “Casino Jack”
* What conditions were set for Spitzer to allow the interview
* Some of the other interview subjects
* Balancing the difference stories and how the movie’s changed since Tribeca
* The different visual style Gibney’s started using with “Client 9”
* His approach to his upcoming Lance Armstrong film
* When we might see that and the long-in-development “Magic Bus”
And much more!