Shonda Rhimes Discarded a Three-Week Vacation to make a short biographical film about Clinton


The Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton wanted the famous show-runner, Shonda Rhimes to direct a short film to be shown on Thursday night of the Democratic National Convention. Shonda Rhimes was about to go on a three-week vacation but she dropped it as Hillary Clinton’s campaign called.

Rhimes’s producing partner, Betsy Beers said in an interview with People that: “Shonda and I looked at each other and went, ‘There goes vacation.”

Then they set to work to make a short biographical film about Clinton that made viewers “feel like they were sitting with a friend,” Rhimes tells People. They sat down and interviewed Clinton for five hours at Clinton’s kitchen table.

“It was reviving,” Rhimes says. “The geeky student in me who loves doing homework and research, I got to immerse myself in photos and articles. I’ve spent more time on Hillary Clinton’s Flickr page than any other human being on the planet.”

Rhimes has worked on ads for Clinton’s presidential campaign before. But this project was different, capturing in 12 swift minutes Clinton’s life and career.

“As who builds characters for a living,” Rhimes says, “it was exciting to take an actual human being and pieces of who she is and see how it builds a person and her character. Given the trumpiness of the world today, we felt like we were doing the work of angels.”

They also interviewed Bill Clinton for three hours and President Barack Obama for 40 minutes (which Rhimes calls “the best 30 to 40 minutes of my life”). The final film they made was half an hour long, but the campaign limited that to 12 minutes.

“It was the best development project ever because it was such a different world,” says Beers.

“There were so many stories that one of the massive challenges for us initially was, honestly, sifting,” says Beers. “It was a mini-series when we first started. It could have been three hours,” says Rhimes.

The video is mostly giving attention on Mrs. Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, who was born into poverty.  That Mrs. Clinton hopes to impart on viewers Thursday night. The video also highlighting Mrs. Clinton’s achievement as the first woman to capture a major party’s nomination for president was pulled at the last minute on Tuesday.

Ms. Rhimes has supported Mrs. Clinton throughout her campaign, having produced a television commercial for her during the Democratic primary.

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