Kerry Washington, who produced the ACLU documentary “The Fight,” called the lawyers chronicled in the film “our Avengers” because of their desire to fight for civil liberties threatened by the Trump administration.
“They really are heroes — they are our Avengers,” she told TheWrap’s Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman at the Sundance Film Festival. “Their day job is saving the world!”
The documentary follows five ACLU lawyers as they face legal battles against the Trump administration, such as the Muslim ban that Trump signed into effect on Jan. 27, 2017, which banned foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the country for 90 days, as well suspending entry for all Syrian refugees.
“The Fight” was directed by Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, the team behind the documentary “Weiner.” Steinberg told TheWrap that it was her idea to do a documentary on the ACLU.
“The origin story was that on the night that Trump issued his Muslim ban, I joined the protestors that were gathering on the steps of the Brooklyn courthouse and inside, [ACLU deputy director] Lee [Gelernt] was arguing for an emergency stay of that order,” she explained. “When he came out from the court, I could just see this expression on his face which was exhaustion and exhilaration and total shock to be at the center of the crowd of people who are shouting ‘ACLU!’ I felt like this is where we needed to be. We needed to document these lawyers in their fight against Trump — this would be a David versus Goliath courtroom thriller.”
Washington added: “I had the same feeling as Elyse did on the opposite side of the country. I woke up the morning after I watched Lee on MSNBC and thought, ‘who is on the ground with these heroes?’ These people are at the frontlines of the most important fights we’re going to face with this administration. They are the people who are looking out for all of our civil liberties. Who’s with them? We have to witness to this battle, as frightening as this may be. so I called my team at CAA and asked that question… they told me, ‘the team from ‘Weiner’ has the exact same thought, would you like to meet with them and maybe do it together?'”
“The Fight” premiered at Sundance was bought by Magnolia Pictures and Topic Studios for theatrical distribution.
Watch the video above.
Sundance Portraits From A to Z: Andy Samberg to Zazie Beetz (Exclusive Photos)
Sundance 2020: Stars like Glenn Close, Kerry Washington and Bill Skarsgard stop by TheWrap Studio presented by Heineken at the Pando Art Gallery