Jim Brown is featured in film on Hugh Hefner

Wed, Jun 30
1:41
PM ET

It's not exactly what you might think.

Hugh Hefner's documentary "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel," doesn't open until July 30 but ESPN.com has the exclusive first look at the trailer of the film which was shot by Oscar-winning director Brigitte Berman.

Berman also chatted with ESPN about why she wanted to show a different, unexplored side of the magazine founder.

Why do this now?

"It really all began when I visited Hef for his 80th birthday. I'd known him prior to that and I wanted to go to his party. When I was there, the party was quite amazing. Painted girls, it was wonderful. They celebrated him, but they only celebrated him as a playboy. I've known him for many years and knew about the activist part of him. I felt that was all missing at that party. I wanted to make a film about that other side of Hugh Hefner. I researched it, sent him down a treatment and he said 'Yes, go ahead. Anything you need, I give you, including creative freedom.' I felt very fortunate, but also very responsible."

Talk about his relationship with former NFL great Jim Brown, who is featured prominently in the film.

"Jim Brown has known Hef a very, very long time. He was on Hefner's 'Playboy After Dark Show,' which was a show that Hef created. It was a platform that gave Jim Brown a voice when nobody else would listen. Jim Brown says Hefner fought against injustices."

And he's such a big part of the documentary, too. Why did you use him so much?

"I did a very, long interview with Jim Brown. He was absolutely tremendous. It was interesting what he said about feminists. He also believes in the feminist cause. He believes in activism of all sorts. And I talked to him about that. He said he could see why the feminists were so against Hefner, and they had to be. But at the same time, it was a very honest battle between the two of them. Both of them were so strong, it kept them both more honest. And I thought that was a really interesting take he had on that."

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