A Morgan Neville Documentary Will Put an Unfinished Welles Film in Context


Mr. Neville, an ardent fan of Welles, said he wanted to unpack why the fiercely independent filmmaker did not thrive in what should have been fertile ground.

“At the beginning of the ’70s, everything was possible,” Mr. Neville said, referring to the surge in creative filmmaking that swept the movie industry after the demise of the traditional studio system and the rise of the counterculture. Welles should have been “the conquering hero of that new Hollywood,” he said, adding, “but nothing went right for the auteur.”

By the end, Mr. Neville said, “no studio was interested in making movies like ‘The Other Side of the Wind.’”

Mr. Neville said he became interested in a possible documentary after reading “Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of ‘The Other Side of the Wind,’” by Josh Karp, but was daunted by the same tangle facing the team trying to get the film finished. A few months ago, though, he got a call from Netflix, saying that if he was still interested in making the picture, the company would pay. The plan is for the documentary to come out the same time as the film, sometime next year.

“As for a title,” Mr. Neville wrote in an email, “I’m thinking I’m going to use this Orson quote: ‘They’ll love me when I’m dead.’”

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