Showtime will explore the later years of outspoken 1960s counterculture figure and psychedelic advocate Timothy Leary in an upcoming documentary from Errol Morris.
With a working title of “A Film By Errol Morris,” the Oscar winner behind “Wormwood” and “Fog of War” will center the documentary on Leary’s life after the counterculture era. Here’s the film’s synopsis, per Showtime: “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, reimprisonment 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.”
“This is a dream project,” Morris said in a statement. “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.”
Like Harcourt-Smith’s memoir, “A Film By Errol Morris” is shaping up to offer a behind-the-scenes look and new insights into the mind of one of America’s most famous counterculture figures. The upcoming film is produced by Fourth Floor Productions and Moxie Pictures. Morris serves as executive producer and Robert Fernandez and Steven Hathaway serve as producers.
Check out the trailer for “A Film By Errol Morris” below: