Peacock is getting ready to tell a stranger-than-fiction story with its new series Paul T. Goldman. A new trailer introduces the titular Paul T. Goldman, an author who wrote a book and a screenplay about a bizarre story that happened to him full of twists and turns that sound too crazy to be real. Directed by Jason Woliner, the series blends fact and fiction similar to the director’s work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm to emphasize how unbelievable Goldman‘s tale really is. The trailer gives a brief glimpse into the winding tale that will unfold across six episodes.
First, the footage properly introduces Goldman as a typical single dad working an office job who dates around in hopes of finding someone that gels with his family. During one date, he hit it off with a woman named Audrey who seemed like the perfect, family-oriented fit or him and his son Johnny. Soon after, however, he started unraveling her secrets. He realized that not only was she stealing money from him, but she lived multiple different lives and had several different addresses. A pet psychic he hired told him there was something bigger at hand and, as police continued to investigate, that proved to be true. Every single detail led to a wider web being uncovered, making a case so complex and mind-bending it still haunts investigators.
In its bizarre and slightly comedic fashion, the footage constantly switches from the typical documentary format with testimonies from Goldman, the police, the pet psychic, and more to a fictionalized style where Goldman plays himself in an adaptation of his book. The result is some awkward, funny scenes of Goldman relishing in the ability to tell his story through his own acting. The behind-the-scenes shots capture the vibe that this is a Hollywood-like story surrounding an everyman.
Joining Woliner and Goldman on the project is a stellar team of executive producers including Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, and Loreli Alanis for Point Grey Studios, Megan Ellison for Annapurna, and Michael Sagol and Bert Hamelinck for Caviar. Tyler Ben-Amotz is also on board as a producer through Caviar which teamed with Point Grey to bring the series to life.
Paul T. Goldman Is a Passion Project Woliner Has Worked On for Over a Decade
The comedic docuseries has been a long time coming for Woliner who has been working on the project since 2012 after falling in love with Goldman‘s book. In a lengthy statement, Woliner explained that Goldman had contacted him back then with a pitch and a dream about adapting his story into something more. After viewing Goldman‘s homemade video about the wild story that “set him on a mission to bring down an (alleged) international crime ring,” Woliner bought a copy of the book and was hooked immediately. He wrote:
It instantly became my favorite book I’ve ever read. The story is equal parts fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and often weirdly moving. It has endless bizarre turns, and Paul himself is the most captivating person I’ve ever encountered. He reminded me of my favorite documentary subjects: Mark Borchardt from American Movie, Timothy Treadwell from Grizzly Man, or the kind of people that appear in Errol Morris films like Tabloid and Mr. Death. They’re striking, quirky, passionate, a little “off”; individuals with a strong sense of purpose but perhaps an atypical form of self-awareness. After a few months of quiet observation, I responded to Paul and told him I was in.
Woliner drew comparisons between the hilarious, uncomfortable, and titillating nature of the story and that of his own work with the Borat sequel and Nathan For You. He hopes the audience is just as fascinated by the wild details of the story and the person that he spent ten years exploring, adding:
The series that has resulted – a culmination of over a decade of shooting – has wound up becoming the most conceptually ambitious and personal project I’ve ever worked on. It’s in many ways an experimental show and I’m still in grateful disbelief that Peacock has let me do it. The format, combining familiar doc elements with dramatized scenes that Paul wrote about his story – starring Paul playing himself – and weaving that with behind-the-scenes footage from the making of this show (don’t worry, it’ll make sense when you watch it, I promise) was essentially my way of taking a camera inside this very unique person’s brain. At times Paul comes across as sympathetic and at other times he’s discomfiting – and it’s going to be really exciting to watch the social media response and conversation this creates as the audience debates where they stand on him and his story.
Paul T. Goldman releases on Peacock on January 1, 2023. Check out the trailer below.