In PLIMPTON! STARRING GEORGE PLIMPTON AS HIMSELF, directors Tom Bean and Luke Poling construct a compelling portrait of the extraordinary life of the quintessential everyman.
George Plimpton became known to the general public for being a veritable jack of all trades, spearheading what he called “participatory journalism” while writing for Sports Illustrated. Rather than simply write about the Detroit Lions, for example, he became a Detroit Lion, embedding himself in the team to gain a first-hand perspective on their culture and dynamics. He parlayed such escapades into a career as a successful author and television personality. Before, during, and after these adventures, Plimpton’s circle was a bit more rarefied – as the founding editor of The Paris Review, he helped to discover some of the leading writers of the second half of the 20th Century. The film explores the disparate sides of this complex but always strangely likable and approachable figure.
Currently in post-production, the project is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign, with nearly 250 individual backers so far raising over 60% of the $25,000 target – funds to cover licensing fees for the extensive archival footage featured in the film. The campaign wraps on August 26, so there’s still time to contribute. Additional information about the project and the filmmaker may be found on the doc’s website.
Plimpton led a fascinating life – besides integrating himself into a ridiculously varied number of careers as a sort of chameleon-like showman (though a distinctly humble one at that), he hobnobbed with celebrities, politicians, and the intelligentsia, and passionately kept his beloved journal, THE PARIS REVIEW, afloat with his own money, often to his own financial detriment. The film successfully captures his very full life, in large part by smartly using archival footage of Plimpton himself to, in essence, tell his own story. Appropriately, it seems that, even posthumously, the protean Plimpton takes on yet another role – as autobiographer/narrator of his own biopic.