While many point to MTV's The Real World as the pioneer of reality television, the real birth of reality TV happened back in 1973, when the Loud family allowed their everyday lives to be chronicled for the revolutionary PBS documentary series An American Family. HBO's Cinema Verite recreates the drama and excitement behind the lens, and we have an exclusive clip about the compelling movie from the upcoming DVD's bonus features.
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"They were just the virgins thrown into the volcano," says Diane Lane, who plays Pat Loud, the mother of five who, along with her husband Bill Loud (played by Tim Robbins), was initially thought to represent "the perfect family" – and ideal subjects for producer/filmmaker Craig Gilbert (played by James Gandolfini).
"I think Craig had a natural insight for the fact that this marriage was a little too eager to please," continues Diane, adding of Pat Loud, "There's a weird balance between her innocence and her knowledge of her husband's proclivity, to, you know…"
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As true reality set in and cameras captured the strains of the Louds' marriage – including Pat's asking for a divorce and openly supporting her gay son – the family became a television sensation, catapulting them to notoriety while leaving them unprepared for the consequences.
Also starring Patrick Fugit, Thomas Dekker, Kathleen Quinlan and Lolita Davidovich and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor), Cinema Verite is out on Blu-ray and DVD April 24.