The director and story editor of The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears have released a nearly 40-minute long video on FX’s YouTube channel where they answer questions from each other about the special.

What’s Happening:

  • Director Samantha Stark and Senior Story Editor Liz Day, the creative team behind The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, just put out a video on FX’s YouTube channel talking about the documentary.
  • Among the highlights of the nearly 40-minute long video is a conversation about the avenues through which they tried to contact Britney Spears, which included her publicist, manager, court appointed counsel, friends, family, associates, and directly through Instagram. While they’re unsure if Britney was aware that the documentary was being made, they did have a few parties willing to help out off-the-record, which helped inform their narrative choices.
  • With a mostly female creative team and crew, Samantha and Liz made an agreement early on that they would not make fun of Britney Spears and since much of the coverage of her has lacked it, their portrayal would be as empathetic as possible.
  • They were delighted to see “We’re Sorry Britney” trending in response to the documentary and hope that it inspires viewers to also think about who we may be treating unfairly in the media now.
  • Justin Timberlake’s apology letter, which also included Janet Jackson, also comed up. Samantha reminds viewers to think beyond his “Cry Me a River” music video, but about all of the people who were involved in the concept and production of it, how many people helped promote it, and why people wanted to see it again and again.
  • Briefly touching on one of the many parts of Britney’s story that was omitted due to time, they say they would’ve liked to have included how Britney’s ex-fiancé (Jason Trawick, who’s name is never mentioned) became one of her conservators at one point in time, but it required a lot of time to explain. For a longer list of things that could’ve been included, click here.
  • Filmed in 2020, Samantha shared that the flower walls were created so the outdoor interviews weren’t done in generic backyards. The theme was inspired by Britney’s own Instagram account, where she often shoots from her own backyard and shows pictures of flowers and roses. Fan interviews have walls with denser flowers while interviews with participants from Britney’s life have more sparse flowers in the background.
  • The creators also shared that the list of names that didn’t respond or chose not to participate at the end of the special isn’t a definitive list, revealing that they had contacted over 1,000 individuals for the documentary.
  • Samantha also shared that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she was surprised by how many of the fans she interacted with were queer and had drawn inspiration from Britney’s story because she was demonized as a teenager for her own sexuality and boldly continued to be herself..
  • Emphasizing the contrast between people’s real encounters with Britney Spears and the way she is portrayed, Samantha shared a story that was revealed to them by Felicia Culotta about a 14-year-old boy who gave the pop star a letter at a show during her Las Vegas residency. It explained that he is bullied at school for being gay and eats lunch alone with a Britney Spears lunchbox, imagining he’s having lunch with her every day. She was so touched by it that she got his address and writes him a hand-written letter of encouragement every year. One of the letters said this: “If no one else ever says I’m proud of you, know that I’m proud of you.”
  • Samantha and Liz finish the conversation by talking about what they would’ve asked Britney if they had gotten the chance to interview her. Essentially, the would’ve given her a platform to say whatever she wants with no filters. Samantha also would’ve liked to have given Britney a camera to record whatever she wants with it.
  • The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears is now streaming on Hulu.
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(FX)

(FX)