When: Political leaders such as Presidents Trump and Obama, as well as such celebrities as Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman, read the documents that are the foundation of the country
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: HBO, also available free on HBO.com and the HBO YouTube channel
Most Americans are familiar with the beginning of the Constitution of the United States — the part that reads “We the People of the United States” — but precious few of us know a whole lot more about the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787, by George Washington and the other Founding Fathers.
“The Constitution is more important than the Bible in this country, in that it affects everyone and not just some Americans,” says Alexandra Pelosi, who is behind “The Words That Built America.”
The HBO documentary brings together more than 100 readers, including Presidents Trump and Obama as well as the likes of Meryl Streep, Sean Hannity and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts to recite the documents that are the foundation of this country: The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, and The Bill of Rights.
“The Constitution is the only thing you could ask Mitch McConnell and Elizabeth Warren to read, and they would show up,” says Pelosi of the two senators.
“The Words That Built America” airs on July Fourth at 7 p.m., and HBO is taking down its pay wall for it so everybody can watch. Non-HBO subscribers can view the full show on HBO.com and the HBO YouTube channel, anytime after it airs. In addition, the documentary will become available for showings in schools.
Pelosi credits Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films, for coming up with the idea, which was hatched before Election Day.
“We were looking for something that was informative but would not stir the pot,” says the documentarian.
The first day of shooting took place the day after the election in Jimmy Carter’s presidential library in Atlanta, Georgia, where the former president read part of the Constitution.
In fact, all 12 living presidents and vice presidents took part in the readings as did a number of members of Congress.
Actors and other celebrities read the Declaration of Independence for the documentary, which is narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough (“John Adams”). Morgan Freeman leads off an all-star cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Robert De Niro, America…