The mission attracts closely on transcripts of recordings of interviews Woodward and Newman did with screenwriter Stewart Stern (of “Revolt And not using a Purpose” and the Woodard-Newman vintage “Rachel, Rachel”) for a never-finished non-public historical past mission. For unknown causes, Newman destroyed lots of the tapes, and the handful that have been left have been unusable, so Hawke assigns recent actors to learn the salvaged transcripts. George Clooney performs Newman, Laura Linney performs Woodward, and more than a few different performers play actors, administrators, and writers who knew them. Each and every one of the most voice performances succeeds as each an approximation and a nifty little bit of personality paintings (Brooks Ashmanskas’ rendition of Gore Vidal specifically is eerily on-point).
The top product suggests a hybrid medium: it is as though a radio play or podcast were set to clips from the celebrities’ movies and period-appropriate documentary pictures of Hollywood, New York, and issues in between. Now and again we will see footage from Woodward and Newman's circle of relatives albums, 16mm and 8mm house films, and snippets of Hawke and the voice-actors discussing the fabric by means of Zoom (Hawke began manufacturing all through the early levels of the Covid-19 pandemic).
The six-hour sequence follows the 2 actors from their first joint performances in a New York degree manufacturing (they have been already courting on the time, despite the fact that Newman was once nonetheless married to Witte) in the course of the ultimate years in their lives, and surveys the converting occasions alongside the best way. All the anticipated top issues get touched on, from their maximum acclaimed performances at the degree and display screen (together with Woodward's Oscar for “Rachel, Rachel” and Newman's belated popularity for “The Colour of Cash“) to their political civil rights activism and Newman's forays into race automotive using and connoisseur meals merchandise (Newman's eldest daughter Nell based Newman's Personal, which supplies all income to charity).
However the sequence does not pull away the tension positioned at the marriage by means of Newman's stardom and ingesting and self-destructive behaviors, and the numerous tragedies they persisted, together with the 1978 demise of Newman's simplest son Scott of drug overdose, which led them to create the Scott Newman Heart for rehabilitation. (The middle in any case closed in 2013.) And it is quietly revelatory to listen to all of Newman's kids talking so frankly about him and Woodward, from their it sounds as if insatiable sexual appetites (their bed room had two doorways) to the unsavory get started of the wedding (“I will be disgusted with my dad after I bring to mind my mother,” says Stephanie Newman, whose mom is Jackie Witte, “However it's not the one feeling.”)