I first met Alexandra Pelosi in 2002, when SXSW premiered her debut feature, Journeys With George. She’s remained kinda quiet since then, having made only one other film for HBO, until this week when the network premieres her latest work. It’s called The Trials of Ted Haggard, and follows the fall-out surrounding the former minister and admitted user of both meth and male prostitues. Entertainment Weekly has more on the new film:
To most of her gay friends, says Pelosi, this documentary counts as “giving sympathy to the devil.” But she seems to genuinely like Haggard, and explains, “He didn’t give really anti-gay sermons. I’m telling you this because I made a movie about evangelical Christians, and I had to sit through the sermons. The most anti-gay things that I found [Haggard said] were basically jokes. He makes jokes about gays. But he’s not Pat Robertson saying, ‘The gays caused 9/11.'” When Pelosi found out Haggard was living in Scottsdale, Ariz., after his fall from grace, she gave him a ring when she came to town to visit her sister; lo and behold, he answered the phone. “This guy is down and out,” she says. “He has no work, his family is falling apart, he’s got nothing. And I called. I think he was just lonely.”
Pelosi and her husband stopped by for lunch, and ended up staying for nine hours. “And the day he was moving, he had no one there,” she says. “The cynical New Yorkers were the only ones there to help him move. I was just filming my husband moving boxes, not because I thought it was going to be a movie someday. Most documentaries shoot like 200 hours. In this case, what you see in the movie is what I filmed. It all happened by accident.” And fairly quickly: the footage that makes up the movie was approved by Haggard only about a month ago.