‘Curb’ Collaborators Larry David and Larry Charles ‘May Never Talk’ After Documentary Rift

Real-life Larry David sounds just as petty as the ‘Curb’ version
‘Curb’ Collaborators Larry David and Larry Charles ‘May Never Talk’ After Documentary Rift

A not-so-funny thing happened to The Larry David Story, a completed, two-part documentary that was set to drop on HBO last year. The project, directed by David’s long-time Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm collaborator Larry Charles, may never see the light of day — not after David yoinked it on the night before it was set to premiere. The problem, according to Puck’s Matt Belloni, was that David did the doc interview as a favor to Charles, and then watched the project grow larger than he ever imagined. Finally, David decided, if someone’s going to tell my story, it’s going to be me. Or something like that. 

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It sounds like the kind of outlandish move the fictional David would pull on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Despite Belloni’s reporting, the real David has never come out and said exactly what his problem is. Charles, who also directed movies like Borat and Dicks: The Musical, shed a little more light on the subject in a recent conversation with The Daily Beast. “(David’s) issues, I don’t think, were really about the content,” Charles says. “He was extremely pleased with the content. I think he had other issues that I could not resolve. And I think rather than him feeling comfortable saying to me, ‘I am uncomfortable with this,’ he let it—in typical Larry David Curb fashion—drag on until it was almost too late. And then he had to make a radical move to do something about it.”

The lost documentary sounds like it wouldn’t have been one of those vanity jobs, or “celebrity puff pieces” as Charles calls them. Viewers “would see a part of Larry that I’ve known personally for over 40 years,” he says. “And we had a very intimate conversation. It was two sessions, like eight hours of talking. There were all the clips, and connecting his ideas to his work and all that stuff was really done well, I thought, and in a fun way.”

Will The Larry David Story ever see the light of day? If so, people will see “a really illuminating documentary … like nobody else is going to make. I’m sure there’s going to be a much more mainstream version of a documentary with the usual talking-head interviews. This was just me and him and his work. And covering stuff that nobody even knows about, because I was with him through all these different major paradigm shifts in his life.” 

The documentary was a casualty of David’s decision. David’s relationship with Charles, one that dates all the way back to sketch-comedy show Fridays in the early 1980s, might be another. On the one hand, “it’s not that our relationship is strained,” Charles says. On the other hand, “I was really disappointed, and we just haven’t really talked, and we may never talk. That’s what happens sometimes in show business.”

Losing a long-term friendship over a documentary disagreement? Charles says it’s possible. “You’re going to have friends who you know for 40 years who you stop talking to for one reason or another. Not necessarily good reasons, sometimes great reasons. But it does happen,” he says. “People fall by each other’s wayside. It’s a sad reality of getting old. So you have to adjust to the idea of loss.” 

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