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‘If You Use Any of That, I’ll Murder You’: Inside A Shocking Roger Stone Documentary

via CBS News
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Christoffer Guldbrandsen’s documentary about Roger Stone, “A Storm Foretold,” took a dramatic turn when the filmmaker suffered a heart attack during filming.

Stone had abruptly cut off cooperation, causing a personal crisis and funding issues for the project.

However, the heart attack led to Stone’s pity and a resumption of filming.

“It was because of the stress of this project,” Guldbrandsen said. “When we came back and Roger had cut us off, our funding was cut off as well and that was a catastrophe.

“When I’m walking around in the gym and have a heart attack, I have headphones on because I’m on the phone trying to raise funds for the film. When I have the heart attack, I literally drop the phone while I’m talking with an American financier.”

The documentary delves into Stone’s relationship with Donald Trump, his provocative behavior, and his role in the 2020 election.

“What astonished me was that the loudest liar wins,” he said. “We’re all used to, in politics, a contract that you can lie to a certain extent; there was a change in this which I found extremely interesting. I started out looking into all these fascinating false narratives and I came across Roger, looking with the perspective of the 2020 election how that would escalate,” he added.

“I’ve made this type of film in Europe as well, especially in European politics, and I’ve made it with the secretary general of Nato,” Guldbrandsen said.

“They are very controlled and professional politicians but the main traits are the same and the motivations are the same. It’s a mixture of vanity combined with hubris. They always think these stupid journalists, documentarians, it’s not going to be an issue, we can handle that.”

“In Roger’s case, he’s unique in the sense that he revels in his notoriety to an extent I’ve never experienced in anyone else … The bottom line was he said if the film came out and it was 60% negative, he would be very happy. That’s an unusual approach and an approach I kind of respect.”

“I won’t give you away but you’ve got to admit that’s got, like, Third Reich written all over it, right? It really does,” Stone said of Guldbrandsen’s name at one point in the film.

“So, commander Guldbrandsen, good evening, have you brought the list of Jews? Ah, thank you very much,” Stone joked.

“I mean, this is incredible. Do the people in Denmark even know the maker of this film comes from a long line of Danish Nazis? It’s unreal! Of course, I won’t reveal that if I like the final cut of the film but hey, it’s politics, right?”

“It tells us that he really enjoys to shock people. That was the intention: to see if he could put me off. That plays into a whole discussion about mutual exploitation: making observational films, making documentaries, you need a certain level of cynicism involved and of course his outrageousness communicates the story and also is a very accurate description, in my perspective at least, of that whole movement,” Guldbrandsen said.

“That’s why I included it. What I enjoy about it is that it’s so outrageous. It has this antisemitic connotation to it and at the same time he then says he will not tell anybody if he likes the final cut of the film. It’s an opening scene that encapsulates the whole approach to politics and political communication, I hope.”

“When the camera wasn’t rolling, right from the outset, he would refer to President Trump as ‘Mr Ungrateful’, referring to all that Stone had done for him to get to the White House. Stone sees himself as an avid reader, an analytical mind and well-versed in American political history and Trump basically as illiterate, although intuitively a very strong politician. He definitely does not hold him in awe.”

“It was very much a process of day by day trying to hang on to the access, accepting his impulsivity. It was a tremendous high-risk project to do because he was free to leave and to kick me out anytime he wanted because there was no transactionality in the work.”

Despite challenges and a near-death experience, Guldbrandsen persevered, highlighting the complex and risky nature of observational documentaries.

“It’s more the rule than the exception but I have never experienced that anyone sold the rights to the film I was making to someone else. That was taking it to a next level and it was a catastrophe. But I would say it’s on me. The catastrophe was double because it was also my professional failure that I had run this risk and apparently miscalculated.”

“It was very unpleasant but I was very fortunate that there was actually a heart surgeon working out in the gym next to me that saved my life,” Guldbrandsen said of his heart attack.

“When you’re not that old, and you have never been sick, it takes a while just to get your head around that it’s a tremendous stroke of luck that your life didn’t end that day, and I’m still struggling to understand that was the time I had, and it was only by a slim margin that I’m still here.”

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