US Vs John Lennon, The - David Leaf profile

  • The List
  • 22 November 2006


Name David Leaf

Born New Rochelle, New York

Background Leaf began his career as a New York City based news and sports reporter, but moved to Los Angeles where he became an Emmy award-winning writer-producer-director of music culture shows for American television. Among his numerous credits are You Can’t Do That: The Making of A Hard Day’s Night, Beautiful Dreamer: The Story of Brian Wilson and Smile, and Who is Harry Nilsson and Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him? This guy knows his pop music history.

What’s he up to now? Leaf has co-written, produced and directed (with creative partner John Scheinfeld) The US vs John Lennon, a documentary portrait of the former Beatle as political activist in America and the Nixon administration’s covert efforts to silence him.

What he says about the story ‘It’s definitely a forgotten story. What people under 40 know about Lennon is that he was in The Beatles, he wrote ‘Imagine’ and he was murdered. I don’t think people have a sense of the courage with which he lived his life and his and Yoko’s willingness to put everything on the line for what they believed in.’

What he says about the film ‘When we started we knew what had happened, but we didn’t know why. Why had the US government targeted Lennon? What was so dangerous about what he was saying? This movie is an adventure story about what happened to the most famous person in the world when he decided to use his fame to launch a worldwide campaign for peace.’

What he says about why he and Scheinfeld made the film ‘We saw what happened when The Dixie Chicks and other celebrities who voiced their opinions regarding the war or the president. We thought by telling this story that took place 35 years ago, we could make a film that was relevant to America today.’

Interesting fact Yoko Ono says: ‘Of all the documentaries that have been made about John, this is the one he would have loved.’

The US Vs John Lennon is on selected release from Fri 8 Dec.

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