DOCUMENTARY FEATURE // IN DEVELOPMENT
PRODUCTION COMPANY // Betterdays
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS // Nat Prinzi, Spike Lee, Ben Stiller
DIRECTED BY // Benn Schulberg
“Hollywood Renegade” is a film as multifaceted as the enigmatic figure it explores. A historical documentary that traces the narrative of 20th century American film, politics, and our evolving culture, all through the lens of one man’s controversial life and artistic legacy. It is a personal exploration as well as a journey to rediscover this misunderstood, and often overlooked giant of american literature and film. Budd’s life, interpreted in retrospect, is one rife with themes of courage, self-expression, loyalty, betrayal, conviction, a nation divided and lives torn apart, that are poignantly relevant in today’s troubled political climate.
The whole nation watched Budd accepting the oscar for “On The Waterfront”, and to this day can recite those famous words, “I could’ve been a contender…”. But the significance of the film, and more importantly, of Budd Schulberg’s unique place in American cultural history, is largely unknown.
This documentary explores Budd’s life, starting with his youth spent galavanting with the hollywood elites & the intellectuals who would bring him into the Communist Party. The film looks at the politics of his time, during which anything resembling communist sympathies could be seen as treason. For the film world, this era culminated with the communist blacklist where Budd was among those who named names in front of congress, leading to the incarceration of what came to be known as “The Hollywood Ten”. This was just the start of controversy in Schulberg’s life. Considered a communist sympathizer by those on the right, and a backstabber by those on the left, Budd was no longer Hollywood’s golden child. Through a mix of interviews, archival footage, recordings, and never before uncovered letters, the film explores Budd’s later years, and his inability to avoid involving himself in the most important struggles, and political debates of his time.