The Queen of Versailles | Reality check
Four docs that changed course halfway through.
When Lauren Greenfield began filming The Queen of Versailles, it was designed as a portrait of the owners of the largest home in America. Little did she know that time-share mogul David Siegel (who recently threatened to lay off workers if Obama won) and his wife would soon be cut down to size by the 2008 financial crisis. In honor of this bit of happenstance, we round up other documentaries that changed course midway.
Capturing the Friedmans Andrew Jarecki’s film originally centered on David Friedman and other birthday-party clowns. But Friedman’s back story—involving his brother and father’s convictions for alleged child sexual abuse—proved far scarier.
Lost in La Mancha Like Julie Salamon’s book The Devil’s Candy (about Brian De Palma’s film version of The Bonfire of the Vanities), Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe set out to chronicle the making of a hit movie and ended up bearing witness to a disaster. Terry Gilliam’s dream project, a film version of Don Quixote, never came to fruition.
My Kid Could Paint That A four-year-old hailed as a pint-size genius by the art world turns out—surprise!—to perhaps not have been responsible for all of her work.
Paradise Lost Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky flew down to West Memphis, Arkansas, to make a doc about three teens on trial for murder, regardless of their guilt or innocence. Reasonable doubt grew and grew; the result was a trilogy of advocacy films that paved the way for the WM3’s release 18 years later. (The Queen of Versailles is on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray.)