Greenwich Entertainment has just released the first trailer for Swedish director Stig Björkman’s Joyce Carol Oates documentary, Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival all the way back in 2021.
Narrated by Laura Dern (perfect choice), the documentary was 16 years in the making (the first nine of which, from what I can gather, consisted of Björkman approaching his JCO with the ideas, and being rebuffed) and promises to take us “inside the societal events that affected her and her writing deeply such as the 1960’s riots in Detroit (them), the tragic Chappaquiddick incident (Black Water), and the life of Marilyn Monroe (Blonde).”
Greenwich Co-President Edward Arentz said of the film:
The longtime friendship between subject and filmmaker allows for an unusually intimate and unguarded portrait of a remarkable writer and intellectual. Even longtime readers and fans may be surprised by details of Oates’ early life, but the overwhelming impression is of a privileged visit with a fascinating woman of prodigious artistic discipline, curiosity and engagement. Clearly she’s a national treasure, a cliched phase that Ms. Oates would no doubt shun but in her case it’s nevertheless entirely accurate.
Over the course of a sixty year writing career, JCO has become one of the most prolific and garlanded writers in the history of American letters, publishing over 100 books and winning a boatload of major literary awards.
In a profile of the octogenarian author earlier this month (to mark the release of her forty-eight short story collection, Zero-Sum), The New York Times magazine said of Oates, “It’s hard to think of another writer with as fecund and protean an imagination as the 85-year-old, who is surely on any shortlist of America’s greatest living writers.”
Greenwich Entertainment plans to release the film on September 8 simultaneously in theaters and on home entertainment platforms.