Film, directed by Erin Lee Carr and due 28 September, will explore legal and ethical issues of singer’s conservatorship
Last modified on Wed 22 Sep 2021 21.16 BST
The first full trailer of Britney vs Spears, the Netflix documentary by Erin Lee Carr that will explore the legal battle over the pop star’s mental health, autonomy and the controversial conservatorship overseen by her father, has arrived.
The minute-plus trailer tweeted on Wednesday afternoon by the streaming platform opens with Spears’s recorded voice: “I just want my life back,” she says, and appears to show film-maker Carr (How to Fix a Drug Scandal, Dirty Money) speaking with several experts on conservatorships about Spears’s arrangement, which has drawn intense public scrutiny and ire in recent months. The trailer also reveals that Carr was leaked a confidential memo on Spears’s condition during filming.
“I’ve worked all my life,” Spears says in the trailer. “I don’t owe these people anything.”
The trailer drops a day after Netflix confirmed the rumored film with an 18-second teaser featuring a voicemail left by Spears to a lawyer at 12.29am on 21 Jan 2009. “Hi, my name is Britney Spears,” she is heard saying. “I called you earlier. I’m calling again because I just wanted to make sure that during the process of eliminating the conservatorship …”
According to a press release, the film, which will be released on 28 September, will tell “the explosive story of Britney’s life and her public and private search for freedom” featuring years-long investigative work, exclusive interviews and new documents that trace the singer’s “trajectory from girl next door to a woman trapped by fame and family and her own legal status”.
The film also promises to show Spears’s life “without utilizing the traumatic images that have previously defined her”, a phenomenon explored earlier this year in the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, which cast renewed spotlight on the legal arrangement which has governed Spears’s life since 2008.
It is not clear if Spears herself participated in the film, which is executive-produced by Dan Cogan, Liz Garbus, Jon Bardin, Julie Gaither, Jenny Eliscu and Amy Herdy (Allen v Farrow).
In her first public court appearance at a hearing on the arrangement in June, an impassioned Spears, 39, called the conservatorship “abusive” and said it was “doing me way more harm than good”. She claimed her father, Jamie Spears – who, along with a corporate fiduciary known as Bessemer Trust and a licensed conservator, had control over her estate, career, medical care and other aspects of her personal life – forced her to have an IUD, among other impositions, and pleaded for a Los Angeles court to end it. “I deserve to have a life.”
According to Netflix, “text messages and a voicemail as well as new interviews with key players make clear what Britney herself has attested: the full story has yet to be told.”
Also on Wednesday, one of singer’s lawyers told a Los Angeles judge that he expects the conservatorship will end “completely and inevitably” this fall.