For many people, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the sole light in the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has unwaveringly offered the public hope, guidance, and common sense — and reminded us that we will get through this. But, as a new National Geographic documentary shows, Dr. Fauci has also become a political lightning rod. A trailer for “Fauci” has arrived, hinting at the backlash the Director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has weathered throughout the pandemic. Janet Tobias and John Hoffman helmed the doc.
The spot includes footage of demonstrations protesting lockdowns, masks, and other COVID guidelines. People chant “Fire Fauci” and hold up signs denouncing him. We learn his daughters are being harassed. “I don’t understand the hate that people have,” says Christine Grady, Dr. Fauci’s wife.
Since the onslaught of the coronavirus, Dr. Fauci has been known for his seriousness and professionalism. “When you’re involved in a race to stop a horrible disease, you always feel. you’re not doing things quickly enough,” he explains. However, when he’s out of the public eye, he does get in touch with his goofier side. “He’s funny, weird, and really playful,” his daughter reveals.
“Fauci” isn’t only about its subject’s work during COVID: it also shines a light on his role in combatting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the ’80s and ’90s. “It was so frustrating when you’re used to fixing things and you’re just not really fixing anything,” Dr. Fauci recalls. He and AIDS activists initially clashed but eventually collaborated, with Dr. Fauci directly reaching out to AIDS groups for input. “It was pretty much the first and only time, I think, anybody in government came to us,” an activist remembers.
“No Place on Earth” and “Memory Games” are among Tobias’ other documentaries. She’s a two-time WGA Award nominee, and received an Emmy for exec producing docuseries “Life 360.”
“Fauci” hits select theaters September 10, and will begin streaming on Disney+ sometime in October. Liz Garbus (“The Farm: Angola, USA”) exec produced.