HBO Receives Special Access as John McCain Documentary Production Begins

AP Photo/Ralph Freso

Senator John McCain agreed after being diagnosed with brain cancer, to give HBO special access for a documentary on his life. Work has now begun on the television film, HBO announced on Monday. 

Six-time Emmy award-winner Peter Kunhardt is set to produce and direct the documentary and is working with his Emmy-winning sons George and Teddy Kunhardt, according to

The film, as of press time, is untitled and no premiere date has been set. Filmmakers are being given an exclusive look into McCain’s life both in Washington, D.C. and back home in Sedona, Arizona. The report listed family, friends, and political figures as those who will appear in interviews for the film. 

McCain was diagnosed with a brain tumor, a glioblastoma last year. News broke of the tumor and its removal last July. HBO revealed that McCain agreed to the documentary shortly after the diagnosis. He has been resting at his home in Arizona for months while still holding his Senate seat and directing other Senators back in Washington. On Tuesday, McCain’s office revealed that he underwent surgery for an intestinal infection at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

Filmmaker Peter Kunhardt described McCain as an “American hero” and an example of “what government can and should look like.”

McCain has spent over three decades in Washington, D.C. between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and was the GOP Presidential nominee in 2008 alongside running mate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. His personal account of his time as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam was printed in U.S. News and World Report in May 1973.

The longtime elected Republican official from Arizona has faced criticism over his record in office. He has maintained close relationships with officials on the other side of the aisle and repeatedly involved himself in foreign affairs. One of his most recent votes created upheaval when he walked down the Senate floor and gestured a disapproving thumbs-down vote against a “skinny” version of Obama-care repeal and huddled up with Democrats on the Senate floor. McCain’s was the deciding vote to kill the bill.

The upcoming film will also feature home movies and photographs that have never been seen publicly before. Based on comments from the filmmakers, the documentary is likely to provide a favorable view of the controversial figure.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana