It’s no secret that the driving force behind the Trump campaign, along with several other previous GOP candidates, was none other than the master of the dark arts of politics, Roger Stone. In the just-released Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, creators Morgan Pehme, Dylan Bank, and Daniel DiMauro reveal how a Trump presidency was a long time in the making, and how Stone served as the major driving force behind it. Here, we chat with the creators about their film.
President Trump has been quoted about Roger Stone, saying, “He loves the game, he has fun with it, and he’s very good at it.” How would you say this documentary captures that? What Donald Trump understands viscerally is that Roger views politics as a blood sport. This ultra-competitive, no-holds-barred approach is one of the commonalities that have kept Trump and Roger so close for four decades. They will both do anything it takes to win—even if those tactics cross the line of propriety (or possibly legality), and result in the further polarization and degradation of our political system. As Tucker Carlson says in our movie, “America may be collapsing, but Roger Stone is determined to enjoy it.”
What motivated you take on this project and make this story into a documentary? We were initially drawn to Roger for two reasons. The first is that he is the only person in politics who embraces infamy. So many people in politics are unscrupulous and employ the same sleazy tactics as Roger, but they paper over their misdeeds and pretend to take the high road. Not Roger. He revels in his reputation, which we thought made him a fascinating subject to follow. The other reason was, as Jeffrey Toobin observes in our film, Roger is a “sinister Forrest Gump.” Dating back to Watergate, whenever something dark and nefarious happens in our politics, Roger seems to always be lurking nearby in the shadows.
Do you believe the documentary will reveal anything new to people who are already familiar with Roger Stone’s story? There are so many wild chapters in Roger’s story that we could have made a mini-series about him and still not chronicle all his shenanigans. But even people who are experts in Stone’s greatest hits will be intrigued to see how they all connect together to form a larger picture of how we got to where we are politically as a nation today.
What would you say is the intention behind Get Me Roger Stone? One of “Stone’s Rules”—the aphorisms that sum up Roger’s philosophy about politics and life—is “Past is f---ing prologue.” By undermining our system, he helped erode America’s defenses against a candidate like Donald Trump—and in doing so enabled Roger to realize his 30-year-long dream of electing Trump to the presidency. In order to grapple with this critical moment in American history, it is imperative we understand how we got here.
Do you have anything specific you would want to tell viewers before they watch? Our aim has always been to make a film about politics that would be fascinating, entertaining, and illuminating even to viewers who have no interest in politics whatsoever. Some people are reluctant to watch documentaries because they think they’re dry or academic. That’s not this movie. No matter what you think of Roger Stone, you should know one of his rules is that, “The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring.”