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Jan. 6 documentarian said Trump and his children agreed to participate in the film because of ‘hubris’

Former President Donald Trump.

Joe Maiorana/AP Photo

  • Filmmaker Alex Holder said Trump’s “hubris” was the reason he cooperated with a forthcoming documentary.
  • Holder told Time that Trump agreed to participate because he thought he would win the election.
  • Holder ultimately conducted three interviews with Trump, only one of which occurred while he was president.

Alex Holder had never interviewed an American politician before coming face-to-face with former President Donald Trump in the White House in December 2020. 

The British documentarian who gained access to Trump and his children in the aftermath of both the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 Capitol riot, posited in an interview with Time this week that his relative inexperience in documentary filmmaking, as well as his outsider status as a non-American, helped him score the first family’s cooperation.

Trump agreed to participate in the film as the country geared up for the 2020 presidential election, Holder said, because the president thought he was going to win.

“Hubris was probably the main reason why they cooperated,” Holder told Time.

Trump almost certainly believed that the documentary would tell the story of his victory, Holder said. 

Of course, President Joe Biden defeated Trump, prompting the sitting president to embark on a months-long effort to overturn the election results in a campaign that ultimately led to the January 6 Capitol attack in which a mob of Trump supporters laid siege to the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden’s win. 

The resulting film, titled “Unprecedented,” is set to premiere on the Discovery+ streaming service this weekend. The three-part documentary has drawn increasing buzz since it was announced earlier this year. Holder’s unparalleled access to the Trump family amid the post-election chaos is thought to offer unique insight into the family’s thought processes and decision-making before, during, and after the insurrection.

Holder, 33, has already privately testified before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 investigation and agreed to continue cooperating with the panel. His footage also prompted the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to request Holder’s cooperation before a Georgia grand jury as part of a probe into whether Trump interfered with the state’s 2020 election. The filmmaker is set to answer the panel’s questions later this month.

“Those interviews are obviously very important for the chronology and for what was going on in people’s minds at those specific times,” Holder told Time.

Holder said he was in talks with Trump Organization attorney Jason Greenblatt for months in early 2020 about the possibility of making a documentary about the president and his family before Greenblatt pitched the idea to Trump.

“They’d been complaining so much about how the media is misrepresenting them. And no one really knows who they are,” Holder told the outlet. “They had a really cynical view of the media. So I said that I just wanted them to tell me who they were.”

A representative for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Holder told Time that he approached the filmmaking process in a “very straightforward” manner, aiming to be nonconfrontational in his interviews with Trump.

“My approach was being really open and transparent and very soft,” he told the outlet. “I didn’t push. I sort of took what I could get from them.”

Trump ultimately sat for three interviews with Holder, two of which came months after the January 6 siege. During a March 2021 discussion at Mar-a-Lago, Holder said he asked Trump about the fallout from the insurrection. The former president showed no response, Holder said. 

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