What have you been up to? That question seems somewhat mute at this point. We’re all inside, waiting. There’s little ‘up’ involved. More down, horizontal, on the sofa, in bed, consuming Netflix in its entirety. And for those with a hunger for documentaries, this year has delivered: exploring everything from 90s sporting heroes (The Last Dance) and big cat breeding (Tiger King) to dangerous phone habits (The Social Dilemma).
The real-life deep dive that has sparked global debate in twenty twenty one? Framing Britney Spears, directed and produced by the New York Times. You may not have even watched it – since its US release on the 5th February, UK fans have urged it to be broadcast here – but you’ve probably read so much about it you feel like you have. (ICYMI: it focuses on Spears’ notorious and controversial legal battle with her father over her freedom - of which you can read more about it here).
Hot on the heels of the doc’s success, it’s been reported that Netflix is also plotting a documentary about Princess of Pop. To direct the project, the streaming service is said to have hired two-time Emmy nominated filmmaker Erin Lee Carr (known for her captivating crime documentaries such as Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop, Mommy Dead and Dearest and How to Fix a Drug Scandal). The daughter of a renowned New York Times columnist David Carr, she wrote bestselling memoir All That You Leave Behind about their complicated father-daughter relationship.
The release of Framing Britney Spears has incited countless messages of support from celebrities, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Sam Smith and Courtney Love. Alongside a public apology from her ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake (the documentary highlights how his 2002 Cry Me A River video, which alludes to Spears cheating on him, affected her public image at the time). "I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right," Timberlake wrote on Instagram. "I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism. I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I specifically want to apologise to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed."
The NYT team were not able to feature any comments from Spears’ representatives. Though managed to interview her ex-assistant, ex-lawyer and even the paparazzi videographer whose car the star notoriously smashed with an umbrella. The new documentary might get closer to Britney Spears’ inner circle, as well as a possible return to the stage (according to Bloomberg, filming started before Framing Britney Spears premiered). Watch this space.