The National Geographic Channel (NGC) will kick off its week-long “Remembering 9/11” programming next month with the Sunday, Aug. 28 premiere of “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” a candid account of the 43rd president’s decisions immediately following the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.
Taped over two days at his office in Dallas, the former Commander in Chief speaks about his personal experiences during the minutes, hours, and days following the attacks. The project took root about four months ago, after NGC approached Partisan Pictures’ president Peter Schnall to produce and direct.
“Right off the bat we did say the idea behind the film would be that the president would be the only on-camera person, that it would be his recollections, it would be his voice, and that was the design of the film itself,” Schnall told the Television Critics Association Thursday (July 28) in Beverly Hills. “Actually, at the time we thought, of course, we would have narration. It turns out that in the film there is no narration at all. It is only the president’s voice. It is only his words.”
The format closely mirrors NGC’s “Giuliani’s 9/11,” which saw the former mayor take the audience through the events of that day.
“That was the idea behind this film, to literally take the former president hour by hour, day by day pretty much from September 11th through the 15th to get his in depth, concise, personal reflections on the horrific events of that day,” Schnall said.
The program also uses never-before-seen footage and materials borrowed from the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
“I hope audiences will come away from this film having a deeper understanding, sort of a bigger window of what it must have been like to have been the President of the United States during a moment when the United States was under attack, when the President of the United States was on the run, when he didn’t know who the enemy was for the first few hours, when he had to make decisions at 40,000 feet about whether or not to shoot down commercial airplanes,” said Schnall.
“It’s all such a fascinating journey, you know. Whether or not you believe in his politics, whether or not you believe in what he did later on was correct or incorrect, that’s not necessarily what this film is about. It leads to all that eventually, but I think what was most surprising was how personal he is in this film.”
- Watch a clip of “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview” in the video player at left.