Errol Morris, as the above trailer will tell you, is something of a legend in the documentary game. Now, the director of The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War will take on a new subject: the CIA’s secret LSD experiments. Specifically, it will explore the death of Frank Olson, a CIA employee who fell to his death from a New York building in 1953 with LSD in his system. The show will follow Olson’s sons’ investigation into his death, and it will also star Peter Sarsgaard, Molly Parker, Tim Blake Nelson and Bob Balaban.
Going by the trailer, the six-part Netflix series seems to be a mix of interviews and scripted reenactments. However, THR reports that “it is said not to use conventional reenactments, but it does use a number of actors as it examines Olson.” Then again, this trailer certainly makes the series look like a non-fiction, scripted drama, what with the heavy stylization—just look at the glossy, CGI-filled shots of Sarsgaard falling out of the window. This is all a little confusing, but that’s par for the course when dealing with Morris’ films.
THR also quotes a lengthy statement by Morris on the themes he’s exploring here:
Isn’t journalism the pursuit of truth? But what if the truth proves to be elusive, hard to get at? How far does one go? Where does one stop? Are there limits, emotional and otherwise, to the pursuit of truth? Can it be injurious to one’s health? Here we have the story of one man’s 60-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s death. Did he jump from a hotel window? Or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, why? What for? A shadowy world of hidden and imagined intentions coupled with dark and horrifying revelations. In many ways, a personal family story, but in many other ways, a story of America’s decline in the period following World War II. It asks the question: To what extent can a democracy lie to its citizens and still, in the end, remain a democracy?
Wormwood will release on Dec. 15. Watch the trailer above.