In a contrast to the times of ‘fake news’, the documentary explores the careers of two pioneers of New Journalism, and celebrates the charm of New York during the last great era of print journalism.
MIAMI, FL., April 17, 2019 – Brilliant writers, tribunes of the working class and icons of the lost world of newspapering, Jimmy Breslin and his friend Pete Hamill personified New York City. For five decades, these colorful columnists spoke for ordinary people and brought passion, wit and literary merit to their reporting on their city and nation. Their writings probed issues of race, class and the practice of journalism that resonate powerfully today.
Exploring their intersecting lives and careers in New York, during the time when print journalism in New York was a synonym of grit and charm, the documentary BRESLIN AND HAMILL: DEADLINE ARTISTS debuts Monday, April 29 on HBO and HBO GO. Times per country visit hbomax.tv
Born and raised in working-class New York City neighborhoods, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill were products of fractured Irish-American families, and rose through the ranks of reporting without formal training or college degrees. Sometimes working on competing newspapers, and sometimes working on the same publication, they became good friends who challenged and inspired each other.
Starting in the 1960s, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill were household names, writing prolifically for the New York Herald Tribune, Daily News, Newsday and the New York Post, among other papers. These friendly competitors pioneered the “New Journalism” style, which brought elements of literary storytelling to the news, as well as a commitment to viewing reported facts through the prism of the common man and woman.
Breslin and Hamill were often controversial personalities, whose TV appearances and comings-and-goings around town could be as entertaining as the stories they wrote. Among the landmark stories they covered were the Kennedy assassinations, the Bernhard Goetz and Son of Sam killings, the AIDS crisis, the Crown Heights and Central Park Jogger cases, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
BRESLIN AND HAMILL: DEADLINE ARTISTS draws on rare archival footage and interviews with Hamill and Breslin (who died in 2017). Offering insights are cultural figures, journalists, editors and those who knew them best, including members of the Breslin and Hamill families, Tom Wolfe, Guy Talese, Gail Collins, Gloria Steinem, Spike Lee, Colin Quinn, Robert De Niro, Shirley MacLaine, Andrew Cuomo, Shane Smith, James Duff, Earl Caldwell, Richard Esposito, Mike Lupica, Sam Roberts, Charlie Carillo, Robert Krulwich and Garry Trudeau. Michael Rispoli (HBO’s THE DEUCE) voices passages written by Breslin, while Hamill reads his own work.
Filled with the humor and gusto they both personified, the documentary is a poignant look at two literary giants who epitomized New York during its last and greatest period of print journalism, and whose pioneering influence still reverberates today.
BRESLIN AND HAMILL: DEADLINE ARTISTS is directed and produced by Jonathan Alter, John Block and Steve McCarthy; edited by Geof Bartz, A.C.E. and Angela Gandini; director of cinematography, Steve McCarthy; voice of Jimmy Breslin, Michael Rispoli; original music composed by Wendy Blackstone. For HBO Documentary Films: executive producer, Nancy Abraham.