The trailer for HBO Max’s The Last Movie Stars tells the intimate story of one of Hollywood’s most famous couples: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. But this story almost wasn’t told.
Directed by Ethan Hawke (Dead Poets Society, The Black Phone), the six-part series draws on hours and hours of interviews with Newman, Woodward, and their closest friends. But because of a rash decision that lead all of the audiotapes to be burned, the only thing that remains from those interviews are meticulously typed-out transcripts.
So Hawke had an idea — why not hire some of today’s biggest actors to read the transcripts like a play in order to pay tribute to the movie stars that came before them?
George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Burn After Reading) reads for Newman, Laura Linney (Ozark, The Truman Show) reads for Woodward, and the rest of the star-studded voice cast includes Melanie Griffith (Body Double), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), Sally Field (Forest Gump), Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Steve Zahn (Joy Ride), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (U.S. Marshals), and Oscar Isaac (Dune).
Premiering on Thursday, July 21, the resulting series combines their voices with gorgeous archival footage to tell Newman and Woodward’s incredible love story in all of its flawed glory.
Distributed by CNN Films and HBO Max, The Last Movie Stars was originally set to premiere on CNN+ before it was shuttered earlier this year. Martin Scorsese executive produces alongside Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton, with other producers including Emily Wachtel and Lisa Long Adler for Nook House Productions and Adam Gibbs and Ryan Hawke for Under the Influence Productions.
Barry Poltermann served as the series’ editor, Ron Bochar did sound design, and the music is by Hamilton Leithauser. The archivist was Austin Wilkin and Joe Rudge did the music supervision.
You can watch the trailer for The Last Movie Stars above.
The Last Movie Stars premieres July 21 on HBO Max.
Main Image: (L-R) Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, courtesy of HBO