Joan Didion — 79-year-old essayist, therapeutic novelist, explorer of emotional depths — will be the subject of a documentary by her nephew, the actor Griffin Dunne, and co-directed by documentarian Susanne Rostock. Surprisingly, it’ll be the first documentary about the literary icon; more surprisingly, considering Didion could hardly be better regarded or connected, they’re crowdsourcing the project on Kickstarter (see video below). The campaign, which went live two days ago, shattered its goal of $80,000 in about a day.
The documentary, We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live (named after her groundbreaking collection of essays), will trace Didion’s stellar arc from bookish schoolgirl, introverted UC Berkeley student, and lowly Vogue copywriter to celebrated Hollywood screenwriter (A Star Is Born, True Confessions) and venerated author. An intensely private person, she’ll read passages from a selection of her writing — Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Where I Was From, The Year of Magical Thinking — interspersed with interviews with Barbra Streisand, Patti Smith, Harrison Ford, Graydon Carter, Anna Wintour, and others who’ve known her or found inspiration in her words.