Anthony Weiner granted filmmakers full access to his mayoral campaign, believing the result would document a triumphant political comeback

By Tierney McAfee
Updated January 20, 2016 02:15 PM
Advertisement
Image
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

The cameras were rolling in the summer of 2013 when Anthony Weiner‘s mayoral campaign imploded amid his second sexting scandal.

Before news broke of Weiner’s explicit extramarital texts with a then-22-year-old Sydney Leathers, the former New York congressman granted filmmakers full access to his campaign, believing the result would document a triumphant political comeback. (Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 following his first scandal, in which he admitted to exchanging lewd messages and photos with multiple women online.)

Instead, the new documentary, Weiner, chronicles his disastrous bid for mayor of New York City, and offers an intimate inside look at how Weiner and his wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, coped in the aftermath of the scandal that introduced the world to Carlos Danger, Weiner’s sexting nom de plume.

The New York Times got an exclusive first look at Weiner, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this Sunday. Viewers should expect plenty of “juicy moments” about Weiner, the paper writes. As the scandal comes to light in the 90-minute, independently produced film, a panicked Weiner is shown misleading the media and “racing through the back halls of a McDonald’s” to escape Leathers, whom his campaign code-named “Pineapple.”

Abedin, by contrast, “maintained a steely calm” amid the crisis. But the Times reports that Abedin and the Clinton campaign have become increasingly anxious about the documentary, which is expected to make its television debut on Showtime in October, just weeks before the general presidential election.

Clinton is mentioned throughout Weiner, although she never appears in the film. At one point, the documentary explores a claim in New York magazine that Abedin was facing pressure to choose between standing by her husband and remaining in Clinton’s inner circle.

Unnamed insiders tell the Times that Abedin and Weiner have not been allowed to preview the documentary, despite pleas to filmmakers. But a spokesman for the filmmakers tells PEOPLE that’s “absolutely not true” and that the couple have had a standing invitation to see the film.

The real question, it would seem, is: Why did Weiner and Abedin continue to give filmmakers access after the scandal broke?

“We don’t know,” Julie Goldman, one of the film’s producers, tells the Times. “I think they were very comfortable with Josh (Kriegman, the film’s director, who was chief of staff for Weiner’s district office from 2005 to 2006). It was also unfolding so rapidly.”

Weiner also shows more lighthearted moments between Abedin and Weiner that Goldman calls “very normal and engaging.” In one such snippet, Abedin looks Weiner up and down and concludes, “I’m not crazy about those pants.”

The movie serves up a heavy dose of humor, according to the Times. It features footage of late-night comedians mocking Weiner, and a 1970s glam-rock, funk and reggae soundtrack.

At the very end of the film, Weiner says, “I don’t regret letting you follow me around. I wanted to be viewed as the full person I was.” Abedin, on the other hand, never says whether she regrets the decision.

Weiner hits theaters on May 20 and is expected to premiere on Showtime in October.