A new documentary, The Andy Warhol Diaries, will reexamine the life of the 20th century’s most famous artist through the lens of his own letters.
Filmmaker Andrew Rossi used AI software to recreate Warhol’s voice to read entries from the artist’s posthumously published 1989 memoir, also titled The Andy Warhol Diaries. Rob Lowe, Julian Schnabel, John Waters, Fab Five Freddy, and the book’s editor, Pat Hackett, all provide commentary throughout the picture, which will arrive on Netflix March 9.
A trailer for the six-part, Ryan Murphy–produced doc features archival footage of Warhol along with commentary from his friends and admirers. “The diaries are Andy’s thoughts in Andy’s words,” Hackett says. “No other part of his work shows this.”
Some commentators parse Warhol’s sexuality, while others try to link some of the artist’s religious imagery to the AIDS crisis. They claim that the answers to his motivations are in his diaries, suggesting the film will offer a complete reassessment of Warhol’s career. “He broke every rule,” filmmaker John Waters says. “He made you look at things in a completely different way. Well that’s what art is.”
In the clip, a recreation of Warhol’s voice says, “I’m just a freak. I wasn’t very close to anyone — although, I guess I wanted to be.”
To get ahead of any controversy regarding the way the film uses Warhol’s voice, the clip includes the following disclaimer: “Andy’s words are recreated in this series using an AI program with the Andy Warhol Foundation’s permission.” Last year, Anthony Bourdain’s widow claimed she never gave permission for the filmmakers behind the documentary Roadrunner to recreate the TV personality’s voice.
The Andy Warhol Diaries will chronicle Warhol’s entire life, from his youth in Pittsburgh up until his death, providing a larger portrait of the artist than the original book, which only covered Nov. 24, 1976 through Feb. 17, 1987. Warhol died after undergoing gallbladder surgery a few days later, on Feb. 22, 1987.