Luke Poling and Tom Bean talk about their interest in their subject, George Plimpton, and about the process of collaborative documentary filmmaking, from archival research to editing. Poling and Bean are co-directors, co-writers and co-producers of Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, premiering nationally Friday, May 16, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
Watch Filmmakers’ Interview: The Making of Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself
About the Directors
Tom Bean has worked in many capacities on documentary and feature films. He co-produced and wrote a feature length documentary about the Iranian hostage crisis, featuring Jimmy Carter and Walter Cronkite.
Luke Poling has worked on many productions, including The Departed, and The Fog of War. He was a writer/director for the omnibus film Twelve, which played to film festivals across the country. He also worked as a staff writer and director on the award-winning podcast Hello Simon.
Key Find in Archive Research
George Plimpton was a close friend of Robert F. Kennedy and a well known figure when he accompanied Kennedy during his presidential campaign in 1968. Luke Poling describes a great discovery he and Tom Bean shared while searching through Plimpton’s vast archives:
“One of the best pieces we found was 5:30 pm one afternoon, it was in the last box VHS tapes, completely mislabled. We popped it in and it was this clip of Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail, the day before his assassination. He was campaigning in California, urging people to go out to the polls saying, ‘tomorrow you will decide which direction the country goes in, which direction California goes in.’ He pauses and says, ‘and which direction George Plimpton goes in.’ Tom and I knew we had something very special and this was definitely going to making the film.”
Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself is a production of Laemmle/Zeller Films in association with Joyce Entertainment and The Offices of SPECTRE. Tom Bean and Luke Poling are directors, writers and producers. Terry McDonnell and Adam Roffman are producers. Casey Brooks and Maya Hawke are editors with visual effects by Brian McGee and a score by Mark De Gli Antoni. Dennis Joyce, Phyllis Alexander, Kris Meyer, Antonio Weiss, Susannah Weiss, William R. Hearst III, Toby Barlow, and Bill Deacon are executive producers. For American Masters: Susan Lacy is executive producer. Stephen Segaller is executive-in-charge.