A new docuseries will leave you questioning reality.
Documentary fans are used to delving into a bit of reality, but what happens when the viewer can’t tell if what they’re seeing is real? That may sound like an unpleasant viewing experience, but when it comes to Peacock’s new documentary series Paul T. GoldmanIncredibly gripping, hilarious, and truly rewarding roller coaster game.
Paul T. Goldman is the alias of a real person named Paul Finkelman, an ordinary but eccentric man who was cheated on by his ex-wife. The story goes like this: Paul is an ordinary guy who sells insurance in Florida – a divorced single dad looking for love who meets a woman online. She says all the right things about prioritizing family and wanting to settle down. They marry a few months later, and things are going well… until he realizes that she is cheating him out of thousands of dollars and that she has a boyfriend on her side. Sadly, it’s not that rare these days, but what happens next is the stuff of fantasy about true crime.
Trying to catch his wife in a lie, Paul comes to the unlikely conclusion that she is a lady who runs an international sex trafficking ring with the help of others, including her pimp boyfriend. He hires private investigators and psychics to help him get to the bottom of his caper. It all seems preposterous, and Paul realizes it, so he decides to milk it: In 2009, Paul wrote a book, followed by a screenplay, based on his experience with his double ex-wife. Then he harasses a bunch of filmmakers on Twitter until he catches the eye of Jason Woolner (2020 Film Director) The next Borat movie).
Over the next decade, Woolner filmed Paul in typical documentary style. And when it came time to put together the Peacock series, Woolner peppered it with interviews written Scenes written by Paul, featuring real actors (including Frank Grillo and Rosanna Arquette). Who plays Paul? He does, of course. “Nobody could play Paul T. Goldman better than Paul T. Goldman,” Woolner told us in a recent interview.
The result is an incredibly personable drama/documentary series, the end result of which verges on fraud. “He has this special personality,” said Woolner. “He’s one of those people you see and think about, Oh he’s a character. And part of that process is trying to get to the human underneath.” This is fully evident when they shoot a scene from the book in which Paul’s concerns about his ex-wife are confirmed, and he smiles uncontrollably through the whole picture, until Woolner points out that it doesn’t make sense for him to Smiling at that goal.
Moments like these will make you pause to check the show’s description to make sure you haven’t misread: “Did MOCKuseries say?” No.
Paul thinks his wild story is a true story, but even so that The assumption begins to unravel as Wollner digs deeper. Wylner’s role as director eventually evolved into that of a therapist and pseudo-detective, and became an integral part of the series.
It becomes a dynamic show that combines comedy, crime and honest humanity. It will leave you wondering why you watch true crime shows, how realistic documentaries are, and whether Paul himself is the ultimate fraud. The series finale, which aired on Sunday and was filmed until last month, leaves plenty of unanswered questions. So to fill in some blanks, we turned to Wollner-Who still He doesn’t have all the answers.
Katie Couric Media: I’m a bit puzzled: Can you break down what’s real, what’s scripted but based on reality, and what, if any, is completely fake?
Jason Woolner: When I met Paul in 2012, he had written his book Duplication: A True Story of Crime and DeceitAnd everything in it was presented as true. Part of the show is that I’m trying to determine what’s true and what’s not. Maybe he got things wrong or remembered them wrong, or maybe things weren’t exactly as he understood them. The scenes we shot were based on his first book, and he thought it was accurate.
It’s not like Paul is crazy and this whole thing is fake. Some people online are wondering, “Will the whole thing ever be revealed to be fake?” But no, Paul is a real person.
What did you do Believe Was it true when you first met Paul?
It wasn’t like I found the story and said, “Well, that can’t be true. It’s all fake.”
I believe Paul was in this marriage with this person who was leading an unquote double life. Whether it was an escort service, or just the Florida swinger lifestyle, it was always unclear to me.
I went in knowing nothing but what I had read in the book and thinking maybe it was all true. I was breaking it down myself until the end when we finally found some real players involved and were able to really clear things up. We were worried when we reached out to supposed pimp Cadillac McDaniel, whom Paul calls “Royce Rocco” in the book—we considered them dangerous criminals because all I had was a picture Paul had drawn.
When we filmed the series, we were lucky enough to track down Royce Rocco, and of course he was the friendliest person, just a very likable guy. This does not mean what I think he He tells the truth about everything, but he was undeniably charismatic. And based on interviews with him and some of the other accused characters in the book, we’ve determined that this whole thing about Paul’s former running of a human trafficking ring may not have been true.
When did your confidence in Paul’s detective work begin to crumble?
In my big interview with him in 2014, which lasted several hours, I discovered that he did elaborate on some of the stories in the book—for example, his wife didn’t really throw him in the head when he asked for a divorce. But at the time, he said 99 percent of his stories were true — and then revised that down to 97 percent. In terms of the criminal allegations in his story, I didn’t really have a firm opinion on what was real or not until we really went to Florida a few months ago and did the work.
For me, it wasn’t just about proving Paul wrong, or not telling the truth about certain things. It was much more about figuring out if he was wrong about something, or not conveying an image that was in line with what I thought was the truth. I wanted to find out how important it is to live in a reality that coincides with other people’s reality, or objective reality? That was more interesting to me.
The series also features produced scenes starring Paul himself, and actors portraying the people in his life. I understand the scenes are from his book, but was there a point where you were planning to make a drama series out of that book?
At first, Paul reached out to me and many others saying he had written a book and a screenplay. I read the book and fell in love with a lot of it. And I thought at first, Perhaps this is a movie written about this type of “character” trying to take down a crime syndicate. It’s funny – almost like taken, But with a nebbish goofy guy. But then I met him a few months later and then I realized, oh no, Paul is the story here. pee he The interesting thing. What I’m really obsessed with is for him.
So from very early on, I knew the best way to convey what I found so fascinating about him was by filming Paul’s scenes from his screenplay and other writings, starring in him, and showing the process. But at the same time, I didn’t want to feel like a joke or a mean spirit. So I kind of let him steer.
So what was he thinking he was making all along?
He knew exactly what it was made of, very practically. By the time we were shooting, he knew we were dramatizing scenes from his writing and pairing that with interviews with him and the real people involved.
I told him we were going to have cameras on film the whole time and we were going to try and find some honest truth. Of course, there are differences between how he was going to edit the show and how he edited it.
When I finally showed him the show, and that moment was in the last episode, I had no idea how he’d react. And you see him asking why we had to show certain things, and he says he would have done them differently. But in the end, he got it and I thought he was acting so honest, he was really mature and inspiring.
Why did you respond to it in the first place?
That’s a good question. I think it is in the nature of my personality to go down an internet rabbit hole. It was 2012, Twitter was something different. It was fun – pre-Musk, pre-Trump. I watched his video and followed his Twitter for a while before I reached out to him. Then I bought his book and after reading it I was in it. I’m sure everyone else I contacted ignored the tweet. What kind of lit a fire under me was seeing that he kept tweeting to now-disgraced director Brett Ratner, to which he replied, “Send me the book.” and i thought, Oh no, what if this guy picked it up and I missed it? That’s when I emailed Paul.
Part of me thinks You are He may have been scammed. Is there any possibility that Paul’s story was completely made up because he wanted to be famous? Maybe that’s why he handled the final so well.
I don’t think so, because when I was able to show him what we discovered, the way he reacted was honest and raw. And it was really one of the only times Paul T. Goldman didn’t. He’s one of those people you see and think about, Oh he’s a character. But I don’t think he was performing at that moment. He absorbed the new information and it was like watching his brain change shape. He realizes that “this whole thing that I’ve believed in for a decade and a half seems not to be true.”
I think he really believed in it up until then, but the belief was based on a few fragments of evidence. I always assumed there would be a plausible explanation for what happened or just some kind of Florida shade, but maybe not a major sex trafficking ring. Of course, it turned out to be none of that.
appeared in Jimmy Kimmel With Seth Rogen, who co-produced the series, and Jimmy asking Paul if he was still single. It does, he said, and for anyone interested, message him on Twitter, which Seth noted could “make the same thing happen again.” Do you think Paul is prone to deception? Do you worry it will happen again or will it fall for a different kind of scam?
I don’t know. I don’t think I could have done anything else to prevent something like this from happening to Paul again. Part of the show aims to impress the viewer, Is this show just an example of it happening again? Did Paul give me too much power to tell his story, and what are my intentions? And I think they’re finally clear, but I wanted people to see that Paul is still a very trusting person.
What is your relationship with Paul now?
I love Paul. I’ve known him for a decade and consider him a friend, we talk everyday. I really was trying to do it right.
#wife #cheated #unbelievable