Netflix just dropped the first full trailer for its buzzed-about Britney Spears documentary from Erin Lee Carr, titled Britney vs Spears, along with a release date of Sept. 28.
“The world knows Britney Spears: performer, artist, icon. But in the last few years, her name has been publicly tied to another, more mysterious term: conservatorship,” reads the official synopsis from Netflix. “Britney vs Spears tells the explosive story of Britney’s life and her public and private search for freedom. Featuring years-long investigative work, exclusive interviews and new documents, this Netflix feature film paints a thorough portrait of the pop star’s trajectory from girl next door to a woman trapped by fame and family and her own legal status. It shows Britney’s life without utilizing the traumatic images that have previously defined her.”
"It's been 13 years and it's enough."
Britney vs Spears premieres Sept 28 pic.twitter.com/y2CCV4Jnh7
— Netflix (@netflix) September 22, 2021
Carr and journalist Jenny Eliscu are featured in the trailer and are said to have worked in tandem to “delve deep into the tangled history of the conservatorship that has been in place for over 13 years. The film weaves a shocking timeline of old and new players, secret rendezvous and Britney’s behind-the-scenes fight for her own autonomy. Text messages and a voicemail, as well as new interviews with key players, make clear what Britney herself has attested: the full story has yet to be told.”
It opens with voiceovers from subjects interviewed, taking aim at the issues Britney has faced with her family and immediately showing that as the title suggests, their role in the conservatorship will be a focus. “Britney’s never had one person she could trust. Not Mom. Not Dad,” says one person with another adding, “Britney had a fear that her family would barge in and take everything.”
Carr, who teases that “no one would talk…until they did,” is heard at one point posing the question, “What was going on inside the conservatorship and why was she still in one if she was ‘okay’?” followed by, “There was financial incentives for Jamie, for the lawyers. Britney made other people a lot of money.” The trailer also includes audio from Britney’s bombshell testimony during a June court hearing. “I’ve worked my whole life,” she stated. “I don’t owe these people anything. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.”
The project, which had been the subject of rumors for several months, was finally confirmed Tuesday when Netflix debuted an 18-second teaser on Twitter with an alert that a full trailer would debut on Wednesday (Sept. 22). The brief clip featured a voicemail left by Spears to a lawyer at 12:29 a.m. on Jan. 21, 2009. “Hi, my name is Britney Spears,” she is heard saying. “I called you earlier. I’m calling again because I just wanted to make sure that during the process of eliminating the conservatorship…” It cuts out before Spears finishes the message with a timestamp that shows it runs 31 seconds.
Though the teaser did not include any other information about the film, hours after it was posted, Carr confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that she directed and produced it. Her team includes acclaimed documentarians Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan of Story Syndicate, who executive produced alongside Amy Herdy (Allen v. Farrow) and Jenny Eliscu, with producer credits going to Carr, Sarah Gibson (At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal) and Kate Barry.
News of the project comes during a busy month for the global pop superstar. She recently revealed on Instagram that she is engaged to longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari only to follow it up with news that she was taking a break from social media. It ended up as a brief respite as the 39-year-old returned to posting within a week. Meanwhile, her conservatorship case is due back in court on Sept. 29 when the fate of the 13-year arrangement could be decided.
Spears has repeatedly expressed a desire to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from the conservatorship, and her recently installed personal lawyer, notable litigator Mathew Rosengart, has acted swiftly on her behalf. For his part, Jamie Spears filed a response to the petition last month in which he agreed, through his attorney, to step aside. “Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator,” wrote Jamie Spears’ attorney Vivian Thoreen.
Carr comes to the Spears project after having previously worked with Netflix on How to Fix a Drug Scandal and with HBO on I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter, both documentaries that saw her navigating the legal system, courtrooms and delicate subject matter. She’s also well known as the author of the memoir All That You Leave Behind and as the daughter of late journalist and author David Carr.
The public’s fascination with Britney’s rollercoaster story — and the swirl surrounding the #FreeBritney movement — increased dramatically since Hulu’s Framing Britney Spears debuted in February, a doc done in collaboration with FX as part of its The New York Times Presents series.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.