Share This Episode
Zach Gelb Show Zach Gelb Logo

Christopher Dillon, Co-Director of "Goliath"

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2023 10:06 pm

Christopher Dillon, Co-Director of "Goliath"

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 2226 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


July 11, 2023 10:06 pm

Co-Director of "Goliath" Christopher Dillon joins the show to discuss his Showtime docu-series on NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
JR Sports Brief
JR
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
Zach Gelb Show
Zach Gelb
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
JR Sports Brief
JR
JR Sports Brief
JR

We continue at his exact help show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. Showtime Sports presents Goliath, the complete story of Wilt Chamberlain.

Goliath will debut on demand and streaming on Friday, July 14th for all Paramount Plus with Showtime subscribers before making its on-air debut on Showtime on Sunday, July 16th at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific with episodes premiering each Sunday. Now joining us is the director of the docu-series, which I'm almost done with, I'm two and a half episodes complete, got half of an episode left, and that of course is Chris Dillon. Chris, first off, congratulations, appreciate the time, how are you?

I'm great, Zach, it's a real pleasure to be here, thanks for having me. So what I thought was so unique here was to get Wilt's voice in the docu-series, you use artificial intelligence, just take us through that process because right before you tune in to each and every episode of the docu-series, it's Wilt's family had to consent and these were all previous quotes that Wilt has said before. That's correct and you hit on the key points for us, the big part for us of making this story, and I had a co-director in this, Rob Ford, who was, you know, huge in us helping to think through how do we get more of Wilt's perspective in this because Wilt desperately wanted to have his story told. It was one of the things that made him the most, you know, sad in his life was he felt misrepresented and as we did the research into him, 100% agreed with that both personally and also even in terms of his basketball, feeling like there's a disconnect here and so how do we get Wilt's perspective in? He wrote books, he wrote three autobiographies, so we're like we can use Wilt's quotes and we can hire an actor, which is what we did, the normal sort of doc thing and the actor read it and gave it the emotion and then I suggested we could explore AI because Wilt has so much audio out there that they can now take that and alter the actor's voice to sound like Wilt but we wanted to make sure the family was okay with it and we were only okay with it ethically because it was Wilt.

It was his words, stuff he wrote and things that he was quoted as saying. We didn't write these words for him and when we tried it out and sounded great and we showed it to the family and they were moved by it because it was like hearing their uncle or their brother again because these are the words that he would have said because he did say them, you know. And also this was just, it was so genuine but by the family and I thought just the little things where it was just the family talking about the height and how he didn't like the nickname Wilt the Stilt and they called him Dip or Dippy for the Big Dipper. I thought that was pretty neat.

I mean obviously we're making this film, we call it a film even though it's a series but we looked at it as a story in three parts. Because Wilt is this revolutionary important basketball player, arguably the most important basketball player, I don't even think it's arguable, I think he is the most important basketball player who ever lived and KG says so in the piece. You know everyone's standing on his shoulders both in terms of you know creating the paradigm of the super athlete but the league was shrinking before Wilt came. By the time he left it had doubled in size and there was another league you know like he brought popularity to it but everyone knows that story or they think they do but what we didn't know and we were so excited to discover in talking to his sisters who waited until now to do this because they wanted to make sure that his story was told in the way that they felt comfortable with was the person especially the kid because we all think of Wilt as like you know he's the unstoppable force the guy who can play 48 minutes and there's a level of pain that he went through as being this kid in the mid-50s who's super tall and black in a time when neither one of those won you any favors there was no Wilt Chamberlain before him he had no role model there was no idea for girls in high school that this guy's going to be rich and famous he was looked at as the word freak comes up a lot but not in the sense that we think of as like the freak athlete but as like that guy's like a carnival freak and people don't think of Wilt that way because he was so nice and he was so likable and charming and he's in the movie with Arnold but to learn that stuff about him that no girl would dance with him you know he wouldn't didn't go to dances as a high school like you know when you know later on what he says and you'll see it and when you when you watch the the third installment we get into the 20,000 women quote that he put into his one of his books and to see that then in relief of who we now know he was throughout his life it's like it adds the a layer of complexity and depth to him that I don't think we've ever seen before and it feels truthful and his family um watched and really loved the film and felt like he was being seen so what I've seen so far I just wonder how this works there's so many women as we know but how did you go through that process Chris Dillon the director of the docu-series Goliath which looks back at the life of Wilt Chamberlain how did you pick the women that you did to get them on camera well there are people you know I mean first off the claim of 20,000 it will come out is something that is in itself you know probably a bit of myth making on Wilt's part um but there are he obviously dated a lot of women there's a lot of photographic evidence of all the women that he dated and there are some that became important to him who wanted to participate in this they wanted to talk to us uh one woman Linda Huey who um was someone that he had a romantic relationship with for a long time um another woman Jessica Burstein with whom he did not and it was very important for us to talk to both because they both knew Wilt you know deeply but in these different ways and it revealed that despite Wilt's womanizing and there's some great stuff from Carrie Champion uh talking about it and Jamil Hill talking about you know this aspect of Wilt's life there's far more about him that people don't know that adds complexity it doesn't erase that other stuff it just means there's more going on here that's interesting including his support of women's athletics and you know um Billy Cunningham told me when I interviewed him that Jackie Joyner-Kersee says without Wilt supporting her she doesn't you know become a gold medalist at the Olympics like people don't know these parts of Wilt's life so it was a thrill to be able to kind of put them out there and let you decide you know I have two Wilt stories for you so the sleepaway camp that I attended as a kid um the founder was also the founder of the Philadelphia Spas one of the Philadelphia Spas founders and um Huey Black and Wilt Chamberlain before he became famous would work at the sleepaway camp and he actually got fired from the sleepaway camp because he was so tall and he had some eyes that would be wandering over the shower house into where some of the ladies would shower and he's he's talked about this before I don't know how much detail he's gone into it but eventually all those years later he did go back to the camp and the relationship was mended a little bit you know but you you touch on it's funny but you touch on a kind of a deeper point with it the world was not built for someone of Wilt's size or Victor Wen Banyama's size you know and that wasn't easy for him at that time Sonny Hill talks about beautifully in the piece what it was like in high school for Wilt walking and people hadn't seen a seven-foot kid before and just people staring at him and gawking and literally saying out loud look look at him he's like you know we understand from somebody like Kareem and giant steps what it felt like but because Wilt was Wilt and he was so charming and likable I think people don't realize that like look there was a Wilt before there was a Kareem. Kareem had Wilt as a role model to look to and understand like there's something waiting for me on the other end of this. The other story I'll give you too and it's funny how you mentioned the height once again my great aunt went to high school over Burke High with Wilt Chamberlain and she tells this story all the time Wilt Chamberlain sat in the front row and she sat right behind Wilt Chamberlain. Now my Aunt Virginia Kendall is about five foot on a good day so she would always tease around with Wilt and my dad once actually met with all these years later and he it was amazing how many people he remembered with all the people he had access to and he remembered my great Aunt Virginia. A hundred percent believe it you're the second person who we talked to who had um was in class like we'd actually talked to someone who was a classmate of Wilt and talked about how he could pass notes across the person next to him to the person in the other aisle you know and um Wilt was and you'll see this when you get to the end like Bob Ryan was phenomenal great and there's some stories him and Jackie Mack I thought yeah they added such great historical perspective but there's some personal stories from Michael Arizin who was the grandson of Paul Arizin the Hall of Famer that I won't I'm not a spoil for anybody but they're so worth getting to at the end and Bob Ryan talks about like look and Jackie says it just as well and you know because Wilt and Russell you know were branded together they grew the league their rivalry was how the league was grown um but they were very different people and I love Bill Russell and I have an you know endless admiration for Bill Russell and what he did people thought Wilt was an egotistical selfish guy because that was the narrative that was told and that was my big entry point into this piece was understanding the distance between who he was I learned the distance between who he was as a person and the story that was told about him and how much it pained him when he does care about people when he remembers you know your aunt when when he's there for somebody like the granddaughter of his teammate from 20 years earlier you see that like as Bob Ryan says this was just a damn good guy and and people need to understand that about him and I thought it was really good also perspective as we're talking to Chris Dillon right now one of the directors of Goliath which comes out on Friday July 14th for all power month plus with Showtime subscribers before making its on-air debut on Showtime on Sunday July 16th Jerry West saying he's one of the most misunderstood people he's ever seen I thought that was early on just very powerful to kind of lay out the entire docu-series that's why it's early on I mean that was when I was talking to Jerry West and like you know what a thrill to get to talk to Jerry West and I don't know I loved like being able to talk about the game 7 and 69 and show you know Jerry West in that way when he said that I'm like there it is that's why life comes with a lot of decisions and it can be hard to know the right path sometimes a therapist can help you map out what you really want so you trust yourself to make great choices and feel excited about the future better help offers convenient professional online therapy on your schedule however you want it by phone chat or video call let therapy be your map with better help visit betterhelp.com positive today to get 10% off your first month that's better help h-e-l-p dot com slash positive I'm here you know because I was touched I mean there's I mean obviously looking at me you can assume that I'm a seven foot one super athlete you know like like my life journey is very why are you laughing so hard Zach you have to laugh that hard Zach I know it's radio and people can't see you but I have to be truthful with the audience that's a lie so so I mean my life's journey is completely different from Wilt but I really relate to feeling like people are what what people think about me what they're saying about me is not me it hurts and for someone like Wilt who was sensitive as Jackie McMullen says Wilt was sensitive it really bothered him that people thought this about him you know it it matters to be able to try to correct that and Jerry saying that like was like that's what Wilt felt that's what's in his books that's what the the voice you know using his words is often him talking about the gulf between because we show you the games we show you the the never never before seen you know unc kansas national championship game you know in 57 which started the narrative of like Wilt's a loser Wilt can't win the big one but we show you the game before and so you can decide for yourself how did Wilt play you know like do you think it's Wilt's fault that the game didn't go you know that way um I thought I knew how the havel check steals the ball game played out but I had never really watched it and then when I watched it I'm like oh there's a lot more going on here than I realized and there's a distance between the narrative which was good and useful to like sell the rivalry and the reality and the reality is much more complex than that and so having Jerry say that was like this is perfect that's perfect I also thought Chris Dillon the aftermath with all these great matchups between Russell and Wilt when Wilt gets hurt and then they make that comeback and he's ready to go back in and his coach says we could do this without you and Bill goes that kind of took away from my moment and I could only I know it's not the same from historical standpoint but Lebron kind of like threatening retirement this off season once he got swept by the nuggets you always wonder that okay how does this actually play out but it's like what else could Wilt have done his coach didn't put him in and I thought it was a little unfair by Russell and they didn't speak for they were friends who didn't speak for decades because that did hurt Wilt because when you you guys battled each other literally there's never been a rivalry like this in any professional sport they played over a hundred times where they're matched up with each other you know Bird Magic played like 20 something times and they weren't even guarding each other these guys that rivalry was what took the league and also from a storytelling standpoint because a big part of this piece is about storytelling the stories told about Wilt and what he felt the actual story was you know they sold the league on that Magic and Bird that became the template you know like sell these two rivals Wilt felt betrayed by Russell in that moment and yet Wilt was the one as we learned from Shaq later on you know from Jackie McMullen telling us that was able to bridge the gap because he was just like a genuinely good guy but the fact that Wilt you know we get into like in the end you'll see we get into you know the games how many game sevens they played against each other and the distance between like nine it was nine points you know four game sevens lost by nine points all coming down to the very end and it's like just a few handful of plays that like if the ball bounces one way or another the story about Wilt is different and the question that we raise is like is that really even a good way to judge the greatness of a player especially when you know there might not even be an NBA for Magic and Bird to come in to help save in the 80s if not for Wilt I also thought something else that was very interesting is wrapping up a Chris Dillon who's one of the directors of this docu-series Goliath that we were talking about with with Wilt Chamberlain was what Pat Riley said because you talk about the the way that people viewed Wilt as selfish and how much he shot the ball and how much he got criticized for that and then you see when he passes the ball he still gets criticized so he couldn't win but the line that Pat Riley gave where he said I didn't think he was selfish he did what was best to help his team win I thought that was also very powerful coming from someone just like the clout that Jerry West has then we know the clout that Pat Riley has and Pat Riley is a huge voice for us especially in episode three when we get into the 72 Lakers and I will put forth and and and I don't I think this is true there is no superstar in the history of professional sports but especially the NBA who was willing to continue to alter the way he played based on what he was being asked to do throughout the course of his career while remaining a superstar he comes in and he's asked because there had never been a guy who could just dunk on people like this who was unstoppable you have to double him and you know he was coached and Frank McGuire said let's give the ball 40 times to Wilt because that's the most efficient way and the Celtic showed that's not actually the most efficient way is to get everybody easy shots and then Alex Hannum comes in and says pass the ball more and suddenly they have the most efficient offense in history and they win a championship and then later on he's playing with a superstar in West and another superstar in Goodrich and it's and Wilt's had the knee injury and it's like okay so Wilt can you can you set screens can you defend he's like absolutely I'll do that too and nobody's changed that much and won a championship and is the MVP of the finals I don't think that's selfish I think that's somebody who is coachable and didn't have the benefit of you know being on Red Auerbach's team you know from the beginning and I think the story would about what would have been different if they had understood how to use him when he first showed up but there hadn't been a guy who was like we got to double and triple this dude you know it just didn't exist he invented it I know he passed away we're almost coming up on a year anniversary which is just crazy of the of the death of Bill Russell so I don't know how long that you guys have been working on this did you guys at all talk to Russell towards the end oh we wanted to talk to Russell Russell badly but when we reached out to him it was very clear that he was health wise not in a place but it was so was important to me to find his you know archival of him and I was so happy to find some of it because I mean the the intelligence of Russell and Auerbach to talk about he's talking about efficiency in an area where they weren't even doing they weren't measuring the metrics you know they didn't have analytics but he said like I can't stop him but if we can if I can just push him off his spot by a couple of inches and make him less efficient over the course of the game we're going to win and that was just intuitive but they were dead on that was how what you needed to do and it was you know in Will's career where Alex Hannum and others started to realize like you know what Will if you can get you know Larry Costello an open layup he's going to make that 80 percent of the time that's actually a better shot than you taking it against the double team and you see the effect that he had and like I said I'll never I'll never diminish what Russell did I think Jokic's greatness right now is in part because he's got elements of Wilt's game as a scorer and a passer but also because he sets screens and does dribble handoffs and open space for his teammates and you'll see in episode three what he does for Jerry West and Gail Goodrich where he's like okay you know what if that's what I got to do to help I'm going to do it. So I know you're a big Portland Trail Blazers fan yes we're on in Portland actually one of our affiliates the game so I have to ask you I think Dame's going to be there at the start of the season eventually he'll get traded to the Miami Heat but I think it's going to take some time what are kind of your thoughts being the Portland Trail Blazers fan that you are with Dame finally now on and out? I mean it's funny because it does trace back to Wilt as well like Wilt was the first person to understand his power and leverage as a player and that like I have an irreplaceable talent and therefore what I want should matter no baseball player had done that and Wilt's in the mid-60s like less than 20 years after Jackie Robinson an African-American basketball player saying like I should be a co-owner of the team or you should trade me. Dame is following that template then Kareem was the next one to do and on and on and on and now it's just part of life and we may not love it as fans like I love Dame like I think he's I wish Dame would play for the Blazers this whole career but I also understand that Dame has that power and it's something that Dame understands whether he knows it or not because Wilt Chamberlain was the first person to say like yeah I think I actually do have this this much leverage and I should use it there's nothing wrong with me using it and there's nothing wrong with Dame wanting to leave I'm also really a Terry Porter guy if I'm you know like you know I feel like Terry Porter doesn't get his shine the way like he you know two finals runs like you know co-best offensive player with Clyde like you know let's not forget Terry. So last thing I'll ask you because we get a lot of pictures of people to put on and once they sent me the docu-series I went through this thing very quickly like I started watching it last night and I only have a half of an episode left and it's it's much must watch kind of stuff when you're tuning in but what do you want Chris Dillon as someone that was one of the directors for this for people to kind of gain from it? Oh I mean I it like these things are as they're about Wilt but they're also about us who make it as well the things that move us and touch us about it and what really bothered me is what bothered Wilt and we talked about it you know like Wilt was good friends with Frank Deford the S.I. writer and in the piece you'll see a headline from Frank Deford for S.I. and he says another big bluff by big Wilt because everyone thinks the story is that Wilt forced his way out of San Francisco to go back to the Sixers or go to the Sixers because the Sixers were new at that point and the truth is it was really a financial deal like they the new owners who brought the team out to San Francisco weren't making the money that they hoped that they would make the Lakers made and they needed to dump his contract they had Nate Thurman and Deford in his lifetime was befriended or introduced to Wilt by Tommy Kearns the player from you know UNC who also became friends with Wilt even though he was part of the worst moment of Wilt's professional or you know basketball life and they became friends and Deford wrote in his book his his autobiography he has a chapter called My Man where he says I got Wilt completely wrong I was dead wrong about this guy and Wilt asked Deford can you help me get a documentary you know made because Deford contributed to the the 1999 one about Russell and before he said I'll do my best and then Wilt died wow and so this piece is that it is our attempt to let you see for yourself who Wilt was according to the people who knew him best and to him and then compare it you know we don't have we don't use a real nator we don't write narration we let Wilt speak for himself but let you decide how do you think and feel about these things when you look at Wilt and you look at the story about Wilt do you also see the disconnect that we saw so that he can be seen and feel and I wish that he could experience this his family really felt like he was being seen and that meant an enormous amount well it was unbelievable can't wait to wrap up the last uh half of the episode that I have to do tonight Goliath will debut on demand and streaming on Friday July 14th for all paramount plus with Showtime subscribers before making its on-air debut on Showtime on Sunday July 16th at 10 p.m eastern 7 p.m pacific with episodes premiering each Sunday and one of the directors of the docu-series Chris Dillon here with us Chris great to meet you thanks so much thank you so much
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-12 01:04:43 / 2023-07-12 01:14:47 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime