“Every time you make a documentary,” said Errol Morris accepting a lifetime achievement award at the 2nd Annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards ceremony in November, “you get to reinvent the form. When I sold my series, Wormwood to Netflix, I sold it as the Everything Bagel.” This week, at a celebration for Wormwood at the Campbell Apartments, tucked into Grand Central Station, Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Frank Olson in reenactments of the events of 1953, when a real life scientist mysteriously (maybe drunk, or having a bad LSD trip) “jumped” out of a window at the Statler Hilton Hotel, could not reveal all of the ingredients of this finely wrought hybrid documentary, Errol Morris at a new level of invention.
Peter Sarsgaard says he’s amazed at how timely the story seems, with every day offering fresh reasons to distrust your government. Acting as Frank Olson, Sarsgaard said the experience was unlike any other. “Errol had it all in his head and kept assuring me, it’ll be all right.” Instead of doing his scenes with other actors, he felt as though he was acting with the director, and had no idea what it would look like in the end. Among his upcoming projects is a series for Hulu, The Looming Tower, based on Lawrence Wright’s book. He stars with Jeff Daniels and Alec Baldwin—and, bringing around the Wormwood themes, he plays, what else, a CIA operative.