Showtime released the first-look clip from the new feature documentary about Timothy Leary, from Oscar winning director Errol Morris (Wormwood, The Fog of War), that will premiere on the network later this year.
“A Film by Errol Morris (working title) asks the question why Leary, the High Priest of LSD, became a narc in 1974 and seemingly abandoned the millions he urged to turn on, tune in and drop out. Was his “perfect love” Joanna Harcourt-Smith a government pawn, as suggested by Allen Ginsberg? Or was she simply a rich, beautiful, young woman out for the adventure of a lifetime? Morris and Harcourt-Smith will reexamine this chaotic period of her life and explore the mystery of the Leary saga: his period of exile, re-imprisonment and subsequent cooperation with the authorities. Devotion or selfishness? Perfect love or outright betrayal? Destiny or manipulation? The film is inspired by Harcourt-Smith’s memoir, Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary: My Psychedelic Love Story.
In the clip Harcourt-Smith details an early encounter with Leary, previewing an impassioned affair.
“This is a dream project,” Morris said. “I’m always looking for alternative ways into a story. You never want to go through the front door. Or even the back door. Much better to find an attic window that has been left ajar. Joanna Harcourt-Smith, who had a love affair with Timothy Leary, wrote a book detailing how they met, how they fell in love, how they took drugs together, how he ended up in prison. And then something surprising happened. I found Joanna as interesting as Timothy Leary, perhaps even more so. It was a way to tell a story about the ’70s in a powerful and unexpected way. I’m excited to be working with Showtime and I can’t believe my good fortune.”
Morris is an Oscar and Emmy winning director whose documentary canon includes The Fog of War, A Brief History of Time, Standard Operating Procedure, The Thin Blue Line and Gates of Heaven. In addition to his illustrious film career, Morris has directed over 1,000 television commercials, is a New York Times bestselling author and a regular contributor to the New York Times opinion pages and Op-Docs series. In addition to honors for his individual films, Morris has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship.