IFC today released a first look teaser and final details from the highly anticipated 53rd season of Documentary Now!. The two-part season premiere episode, “Soldier of Illusion,” written by John Mulaney, and “Trouver Frisson,” paying tribute to the films of Agnes Varda, join previously announced episodes “Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport,” “How They Threw Rocks” and “My Monkey Grifter” to round out the season. Known for lovingly paying homage to the world of documentaries, Documentary Now! Season 53 will debut with a two-episode premiere on Wednesday, October 19 at 10 PM on IFC, and on AMC+ the same day. New episodes to debut weekly on Wednesdays.
The upcoming season of the critically acclaimed comedy, co-created by Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers and Rhys Thomas, executive produced by Lorne Michaels and produced by Broadway Video, will include six all-new documentary-inspired episodes. Descriptions for “Soldier of Illusion” and “Trouver Frisson” are below:
· The two-part, season premiere episode, “Soldier of Illusion,” written by John Mulaney and starring Alexander Skarsgård (The Northman, Big Little Lies), Nicholas Braun (Succession, Zola) and August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), was inspired by the Werner Herzog-focused documentary Burden of Dreams. In the early 1980s, a visionary German filmmaker (Skarsgård) tries to will his magnum opus into existence while working in the remote, punishing conditions of the Russian Ular mountains. Kevin Bishop (Miracle Workers, The Tracey Ullman Show), Gana Bayarsaikhan (Wonder Woman), Matthias Rimpler (Ludzie i Bogowie) and Fred Armisen will also star, with Documentary Now! ensemble alumni Deb Hiett returning as narrator.
· “Trouver Frisson” features French actor Liliane Rovère (Call My Agent!, Family Business) and Ronald Guttman (Godfather of Harlem, Sister of the Groom). Inspired by Agnes Varda’s Gleaners and I and Beaches of Agnes, celebrated French filmmaker Ida Leos (Rovère) searches for why she no longer experiences “frisson” – the goosebumps that have always been her guide. Written by series producers Matt Pacult and Tamsin Rawady and co-directed by Micah Gardner, the episode also stars Documentary Now! alumni Gary Kraus.
These new titles join the three previously announced episodes, all written by Seth Meyers, to round out Season 53:
· “Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport” will star two-time Academy Award(R)-winner and Documentary Now! alumni Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, Carol), as well as Emmy(R)-nominated actress Harriet Walter (Succession, Killing Eve). Paying homage to documentaries 3 Salons at the Seaside and The September Issue, the episode is a fly-on-the-wall portrait of a hair salon owner (Walter) and her staff (Blanchett), in the small coastal village of Bagglyport as they prepare their yearly stylebook. Fred Armisen will also star as George the Postman.
· “How They Threw Rocks” will feature Welsh actors Trystan Gravelle (Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power, A Discovery of Witches), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, The Crown) and John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of The Rings, Indiana Jones), as well as legendary Welsh singer Tom Jones. In the vein of When We Were Kings and other great explorations of sport, the episode chronicles the Welsh sport of Craig Maes, also known as “Field Rock,” and the iconic 1974 bout dubbed “The Melon vs. The Felon (Gravelle).” Fellow Welsh actor Sam C. Wilson (Dodger) joins as infamous Craig Maes competitor Sior Strawboss or “The Melon.”
· “My Monkey Grifter” will be helmed by actor Jamie Demetriou (The Afterparty). Drawing inspiration from My Octopus Teacher, the episode follows Benjamin Clay (Demetriou), a filmmaker who forms a deep, emotional, and financially taxing relationship with a monkey who may have ulterior motives. Fred Armisen also joins as Detective Blakely.
The six-time Emmy(R)-nominated Documentary Now! debuted to rave reviews from critics and quickly became a fan favorite thanks to its insightful take on some of the most well-known documentary films. Each episode takes viewers back in time to honor groundbreaking documentaries. Season 52 guest stars included Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, Natasha Lyonne, John Mulaney, Michael C. Hall, Taran Killam, Richard Kind, and more.