Alexandra Pelosi another loser

Mar 27, 2013 by

When making a political documentary nowadays, it might pay not to disclose your complete plan to your subject.

That was the approach by Alexandra Pelosi (yes, daughter of Nancy) for her newest hourlong project for HBO, called “Fall to Grace,” which tracks former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey’s departure from a promising career in politics in 2004 after it was revealed that he was gay and had an extramarital affair.


When asked how she persuaded McGreevey to participate in her project, Pelosi put it simply: “I didn’t.”


(PHOTOS: Political movie cameos)


What happened is that Pelosi did persuade McGreevey to let her follow him around in his new life — as a volunteer to female inmates in New York City and in his attempt to become an Episcopal priest — but not in any official documentarian capacity (in fact, Pelosi says that McGreevey’s partner, Mark O’Donnell, was staunchly against the idea).


“I don’t think he thought I was making a movie,” Pelosi told POLITICO. “I think he thought I was just hanging around.”


Well, hanging around, that is, with a handheld video camera, her signature filmmaking method (Pelosi’s other documentaries include “Journey With George” and “Friends of God”).


“Jim has a bit of a disease; he doesn’t know how to say ‘no,’” says Pelosi, who ultimately wove together a film, once she thought she had something worthwhile, and sent it to the Sundance Film Festival.

“He was not happy about it, but I said, ‘You have a choice. You can support the bigger picture of what the movie is trying to say, which is about the theme of redemption and second acts, or you can not sign a release and this film will go to waste.’ He ended up giving in and signing and going to Sundance, and here we are today.”


(PHOTOS: Nancy Pelosi’s career)


Pelosi says she believes in a simple mantra: “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”


“I don’t ask for permission. I think anytime you have to ask for permission your project is doomed.”


The final product is a moving look at not only McGreevey’s work helping women in prison rehabilitate themselves but also his descent from office, a departure that he doesn’t regret.


“Which is worse: Having to be a heterosexual or having to be a politician?” Pelosi asks McGreevey at one point in the film.

Alexandra Pelosi follows Jim McGreevey on film – Patrick Gavin –

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