EXCLUSIVE: Michael Smerconish – Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking, a feature-length filmed version of the radio and TV host’s stage performance, has been acquired by Virgil Films.
The film will hit virtual cinemas October 30 and on VOD and DVD on December 8.
Smerconish, who has worked for 30 years in talk radio, hosts a daily show on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel. He is also hosts a Saturday morning program on CNN.
The one-man performance captured in the film is both a memoir, with Smerconish reflecting on his career, and a unique explanation of the origin of the partisan divide in the U.S. CNN International aired highlights of the film in July.
Smerconish has had an eventful run. Among the moments he recalls in the film are meeting Ronald Reagan as a newly registered 18-year-old voter; managing campaigns for former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo and Senator Arlen Specter; serving at age 29 in the George H.W. Bush administration; dining with Fidel Castro at his home in Cuba; conducting President Barack Obama’s first live radio interview within the White House, entertaining the prog rock band Yes both in his radio studio and in his back yard for a barbeque; confronting the living members of Led Zeppelin with his personal demand that they reunite; and drinking champagne from the Stanley Cup.
Initially a Republican, Smerconish has become a leading independent voice and brings a unique perspective to the nation’s shift toward partisanship.
The 2020 outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with the launch of what was to be a nationwide speaking tour for Smerconish. He recruited director Chris Strand and stage director Bill Fennelly to oversee the recording of the one-time performance in the empty, storied Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA.
“I’ve been an avid fan of Michael’s work for some time now,” Virgil chief Joe Amodei said. “It is a pleasure to be able to take this out into the world.”
Founded in 2003, Virgil is known for releases like Oscar-nominated documentaries Retrepo and Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, I Am Chris Farley, We Are Columbine and the perennially popular Forks Over Knives.