Bill Clinton documentary by Martin Scorsese to air on HBO
Martin Scorsese, who brought us behind the scenes of the life of a Beatle, is set to direct and produce an HBO documentary about another international icon -- former President Bill Clinton.
The new project will be made with the 66-year-old U.S. leader's "full cooperation," the cable channel said in a Twitter message posted on Monday. A premiere date has not been announced.
"I am pleased that legendary director Martin Scorsese and HBO have agreed to do this film," Clinton said in a statement to the New York Times. "I look forward to sharing my perspective on my years as president, and my work in the years since, with HBO's audience."
This marks the third biographical film that Scorsese, who won an Oscar in 2007 for his film "The Departed," is helming for HBO and the fourth collaboration between the director and the cable channel overall. Since 1996, Scorcese has donated at least $12,000 to Democratic causes, including $3,500 to Clinton's wife Hilary's senate campaigns.
Scorcese directed the 2000 HBO documentary "Public Speaking," which is about writer Fran Lebowitz, and the 2011 documentary "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," based on the life of the late former Beatles singer. Scorsese is also an executive producer of HBO's Emmy-winning TV drama "Boardwalk Empire."
Clinton, a Democrat, former governor of Arkansas and avid saxophone player who was born William Jefferson Blythe III, was also the subject of a PBS documentary that aired earlier this year. He served as president for two terms and was first elected in 1992.
"During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history," reads his bio on the White House website. "He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term."
"He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls," it states. "He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial discrimination."
Clinton famously made headlines in 1998 over a personal matter -- a sex scandal centering around his extramarital affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
The U.S. leader was impeached by the House of Representatives over charges of perjury and obstruction of justice due to what he had told a Federal grand jury regarding the nature of his relationship with the woman. He was later acquitted in a Senate trial. Clinton is the second American president to be impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson, who was later also acquitted, in 1868.
Despite the scandal, Clinton has been hailed as one of the most popular former U.S. leaders, especially among people between ages 18 and 34. He had won favor among many teens and Generation X-ers when he famously answered a question about his preference of undergarments during a "Rock The Vote" forum that aired on MTV in 1994 (he prefers briefs - watch video).
A July 2012 Gallup poll found that an average of 66 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion about the former U.S. leader. The average was 58 percent during the Lewinsky sex scandal, the company added.
A February 2012 Gallup poll showed that 60 percent of respondents ranked Clinton as an "outstanding" or "above average" president, ranking second below Republican late president Ronald Reagan.
Clinton was also a key player in international peace and military initiatives.
During his time as president, Clinton ordered U.S. forces to bomb military targets in Iraq after then-dictator Saddam Hussein stopped United Nations inspections for evidence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
Clinton mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the early 1990s and helped broker Israel's peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. In 1999 and 2000, he also mediated peace talks between Israel and Syria, but the negotiations failed to produce a deal.
Since he left office in early 2001, Clinton has focused on his philanthropic efforts, specifically his William J. Clinton Foundation that focuses on global health -- including the childhood obesity epidemic, economic inequality and climate change.
(Pictured above: President Bill Clinton, right, plays "Heartbreak Hotel" on his saxophone during a taping of 'The Arsenio Hall Show' at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles on June 3, 1992. / Martin Scorsese arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in West Hollywood, California. / Bill Clinton gestures as he speaks at Florida International University on Sept. 11, 2012 in Miami. Credit: AP Photos / Reed Saxon / Evan Agostini / Wilfredo Lee)