Sometimes there simply is no easy way to describe something. That is certainly the case for the upcoming Peacock series, Paul T. Goldman. The series has been described as ‘mind-bending’ which seems very appropriate based on what has been shared with us. I am not even going to try to explain just what viewers will witness in this series, besides saying it looks promising. Instead, I will let the trailer speak for itself.
As described by Peacock, “From Jason Woliner, director of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and the producers of The Disaster Artist, including executive producer Seth Rogen, PAUL T. GOLDMAN continues to pile on jaw-dropping new twists in the style of Woliner’s work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, starring Paul himself. The series is a groundbreaking project that mixes fact and fiction to tell a bizarre and incredible tale. Below, please find a note from Jason Woliner re: how he discovered Paul’s story and why he wanted to bring it to the screen.”
A NOTE FROM JASON WOLINER (DIRECTOR / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
In 2012, a man named Paul T. Goldman tweeted at me.
He said that he had an incredible story to tell and had written a book – and a screenplay – about it. He asked for my help bringing it to the screen. When I clicked on his twitter, I saw that he had tweeted the same exact thing to hundreds of other people. I clicked on his website and watched a video he’d shot himself: He was a middle-aged, nebbishy guy delivering a monologue about how he’d been the victim of a shocking betrayal that led to a transformation “from wimp to warrior” and set him on a mission to bring down an (alleged) international crime ring. I bought the book immediately.
It instantly became my favorite book I’ve ever read. The story is equal parts fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and often weirdly moving. It has endless bizarre turns, and Paul himself is the most captivating person I’ve ever encountered. He reminded me of my favorite documentary subjects: Mark Borchardt from American Movie, Timothy Treadwell from Grizzly Man, or the kind of people that appear in Errol Morris films like Tabloid and Mr. Death. They’re striking, quirky, passionate, a little “off”; individuals with a strong sense of purpose but perhaps an atypical form of self-awareness. After a few months of quiet observation, I responded to Paul and told him I was in.
The series that has resulted – a culmination of over a decade of shooting – has wound up becoming the most conceptually ambitious and personal project I’ve ever worked on. It’s in many ways an experimental show and I’m still in grateful disbelief that Peacock has let me do it. The format, combining familiar doc elements with dramatized scenes that Paul wrote about his story – starring Paul playing himself – and weaving that with behind-the-scenes footage from the making of this show (don’t worry, it’ll make sense when you watch it, I promise) was essentially my way of taking a camera inside this very unique person’s brain. At times Paul comes across as sympathetic and at other times he’s discomfiting – and it’s going to be really exciting to watch the social media response and conversation this creates as the audience debates where they stand on him and his story.
I have always been drawn to projects that are hilarious, surprisingly moving, innovative in form and use real people to tell stories in groundbreaking ways. From my work on Nathan for You to the two years I spent directing Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, I can’t deny that I love existing in uncomfortable, fascinating moments and figuring out how to capture them on camera. This is a project that has never stopped evolving and revealing new wrinkles and, after working on it for over ten years, my excitement for it only continues to grow. I can’t wait to bring the rest of the world in and I sincerely hope you enjoy this very unique series.
Expect more coverage of Paul T. Goldman coming soon to Awards Radar. The series will premiere on Peacock on January 1, 2023, with 3 episodes at launch and new episodes released every Sunday through January 22nd.