Hal Ashby directing a string of acclaimed movies in the 1970s, scoring an Oscar nom for Coming Home, but he’s largely overshadowed by the filmmaking kings of the Me Decade. Now a new documentary turns the lens on the iconoclast who also helmed such enduring pics as Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo and Being There.
Here’s the logline: Hal explores his curious historical oversight, using rare archival materials, interviews, personal letters and audio recordings to reveal a passionate, obsessive artist. Ashby was a Hollywood director who constantly clashed with Hollywood but also a unique soul with an unprecedented insight into the human condition and an unmatched capacity for good. His films were an elusive blend of honesty, irreverence, humor and humanity.
Directed by Amy Scott, Hal was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January. IT features on-camera interviews with Oscar-winning actors Lee Grant, Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Louis Gossett Jr. and Jeff Bridges, among others, who recall how they were empowered byAshby and granted collaborative freedom. Filmmakers including Alexander Payne, Judd Apatow, Lisa Cholodenko and David O. Russell also attest to the quiet but powerful influence Ashby — who died in 1988 at 59 — has had on their movies.
Oscilloscope Laboratories releases the docu September 7 in New York and a week later in L..A. Check out the trailer above and tell us what you think.