Kobe Bryant’s MUSE started out as any other documentary, a film on the life of Bryant, detailing his journey from a kid growing up in Italy to a five-time NBA champion, channeling his NBA success into creating an empire, and all of life’s tough struggles along the way.
Through in-depth interviews, friends like Rick Fox, Jeanie Buss and dozens of others, originally helped to narrate the film about Bryant’s life, his successes, his struggles, his tribulations and his failures.
That was, until, Bryant watched the rough cut of the film about seven months ago.
“I saw it, and I said we can do something different,” Bryant said at the exclusive screening. “Let’s create something impactful, let’s create something that’s different.”
Showtime President David Nevins described the first version, as a “beautiful film, gorgeously shot,” but in the end, the air date was pushed out and Bryant embarked on another challenge.
And so, the hours of interview footage were scrapped and instead, the subject also became the narrator, the creator and the executive producer. Bryant moved the filming crew down to Newport Beach, despite initial hesitation from director Gotham Chopra and the entirety of the crew based out of Los Angeles (though their reluctance quickly shifted when the mention of renting a Newport Beach beach house entered the conversation). Bryant wanted to be involved in every aspect of making the documentary, and saw this as the only way to do it. As Chopra would put it, this was when the film transitioned from a “film on Kobe” to “a film with Kobe.”
No subject off limits, several months behind schedule and 21 emotional Kobe interview sessions later, Bryant’s vision came to life, premiering at The London Hotel with close friends, family, celebrities and those involved with the making of the film in the audience. It was an intimate setting, fitting for the film, with a small cocktail reception, the documentary screening, and a brief question and answer session between Bryant and Chopra, hosted by Nevins.
Bryant delved into the process of the documentary coming together, of meeting Chopra and their mutual connection of Michael Jackson, of the importance of learning the stories of every single person involved with the film, of his passion for storytelling. And yet, Bryant wasn’t fully satisfied.
As Bryant got about halfway through the film, he thought to himself, “We can make the next one better.”
Still, this accomplishment, of bringing this film to life, ranks at the top of the list for Bryant in terms of personal success. Despite the five NBA championships, the two Olympic gold medals, it’s this new endeavor that Bryant would rank above all.
“I have to put [this] at the top of the list, because I always dreamed about winning championships and winning gold medals, but I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would be a passion that I have. Let alone the look that you get when you tell people that this is what you do, and they kind of look at you like ‘Okay.’ (rolls eyes) It’s that added challenge that, I think, puts it at the top.”
Those who know Bryant know it’s always about the next challenge. Bryant’s planning to expand the documentary series to include subjects in a myriad of different industries. And, Bryant is already thinking about his next challenge, his next subject.
Kobe Bryant’s MUSE premieres on Showtime, Saturday February 28th, 9pm PT/ET.[divide]
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