Why Boris Becker’s Fail Makes For A Must-See Documentary

Serial killers are all the rage on podcasts and docuseries like “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files.” We can’t get enough of them.

Tales of stars who fall from grace, however, may come in a close second. It’s why the upcoming docuseries on tennis great turned inmate Boris Becker is bound to draw a crowd.

Becker, 55, once reigned as part of the tennis elite. He was the youngest male singles champion at Wimbledon (17 years of age) and capped his career with 49 singles wins, 15 doubles titles and three Wimbledon victories. and ultimately three Wimbledon victories. His post-tennis life looked promising as he landed broadcasting work with the BBC and spent three years coaching modern great Novak Djokovic to six major titles.

Money woes were never far behind, though. Becker was convicted on tax evasion charges in 2002 and paid a fine for his troubles. He later filed for bankruptcy in 2017, hinting at a sprawling financial debt marked by child support and his lifestyle excesses.

Earlier this year, he was convicted of hiding assets and loans and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He was released earlier this month, his reputation in tatters.

The judge in the case pulled no punches, noting how Becker hadn’t shown enough humility during the trial nor did he learn the lessons from his previous fine.

The two-part docuseries on Becker’s fall, helmed by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, culminates a three-year interview process that included Becker’s April incarceration. Gibney is one of the genre’s biggest names, a Left-leaning auteur whose previous work includes “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” and “Taxi to the Dark Side.”

Interest is high in the docuseries. The February 2023 Berlin Film Festival already scooped the documentary up, even before it’s been given a title. The finished product will air on Apple TV+ presumably later in 2023.

Becker isn’t the only star to get entangled in financial woes. Country music legend Willie Nelson famously battled the IRS and lost, a fight that went public in 1990. Time magazine called Nelson a “Top Ten Tax Dodger,” but the clever crooner made the most of his troubles.

He recorded an album in 1992 called “The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories” and squared away his IRS debt in 1993, with a little help from his friends. Admirers scooped up much of the material Nelson put up for auction to settle his government tab and, later, handed it back to the singing legend.

Just imagine that as the final sequence in a Willie Nelson biopic.

White-collar crime doesn’t have the body count of serial killer yarns, but the public’s fascination with them is clear. Audiences love rags-to-riches stories. They’re part and parcel of the American dream, the concept that anyone, at any time, can rise up based on their natural gifts and hard work.

When those riches devolve back to rags, though, we can’t look away. Consider how both Netflix and Hulu served up separate documentaries about the Fyre Festival, the music gala that imploded before a single note could be sung.

Rapper Ja Rule, who co-founded the festival with Billy McFarland, escaped legal woes from the debacle. McFarland wasn’t so fortunate, serving jail time for his scheme and owing his investors $26 million.

The public remains fascinated by wealth and celebrity, but it’s equally compelling to see people fumble those privileges in startling fashion. One reason we were transfixed by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard legal fight was hearing how Depp had lost more than his marriage. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” superstar squandered millions on his extravagant wine budget, for example, a tidbit that seems almost comical in its detachment from reality.

Yet for Depp, that was his version of normalcy.

Director John McTiernan could give a director like Gibney plenty of material. McTiernan delivered three of the most iconic action films of the late 20th century – “Predator” (1987), “Die Hard” (1988), and “The Hunt for Red October” (1990).

More hits followed, including 1995’s “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” but his personal and professional lives collapsed when he was sent to jail in 2013 for perjury and lying to the FBI in connection with his 2002 flop remake of “Rollerball.”

McTiernan’s Hollywood days effectively ended following his imprisonment, but a documentary (or docuseries) capturing his life might make must-see viewing. Or, talk of his comeback vehicle, the sci-fi action yarn “Tau Ceti Four,” could come to fruition and give his life a vital, third-act twist.

The Wesley Snipes story follows a similar arc but offers a happier ending. The action star’s career screeched to a halt when he went to jail in 2010 for tax evasion. Three years later Snipes returned to society and Hollywood, and he’s since secured strong notices for work in films like “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Coming 2 America.”

Snipes told People magazine in 2020 he accepts the blame for his actions and emerged a better person.

“I’ve gained so much more. I understand so much more … And if two and a half years of my life were in meditation and isolation up at that camp out of the 100 I plan on living, good deal. Good deal.”

Snipes’ comeback story would similarly make a good film or docu-project. And, chances are, it would get big ratings when it hits a streaming platform.

Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist, movie critic and editor of HollywoodInToto.com. He previously served as associate editor with Breitbart News’ Big Hollywood. Follow him at @HollywoodInToto.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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