"IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE," THE STORY OF HILARY KNIGHT, WHO BROUGHT THE BELOVED CHILDREN'S BOOK ICON TO LIFE, DEBUTS MARCH 23, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
A little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel, free of parents, school and any notion of boundaries, the illustrated imp Eloise has been an obsession for little girls, a delight for adults and a sly feminist icon for more than 50 years. One of these little girls was Lena Dunham (creator of the hit HBO series "Girls"), who was such a fan that she had an image of Eloise tattooed on her back at age 17.
Directed by Matt Wolf and executive produced by Dunham and Jenni Konner, IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE tells the story of Hilary Knight, the man whose pen helped create Eloise, and recounts the painful events that led to the dissolution of his working relationship with Kay Thompson, the books' author and his closest collaborator. The documentary debuts MONDAY, MARCH 23 (9:00-9:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: March 23 (4:25 a.m.), 26 (10:30 a.m., 4:45 p.m.), 28 (12:45 p.m.), 30 (12:45 p.m.) and 31 (11:55 p.m.), and April 12 (11:00 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: March 25 (12:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m.) and 29 (4:10 a.m.), and April 7 (midnight), 11 (6:45 a.m.) and 14 (1:30 p.m.)
IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE includes interviews with friends, family and key cultural influencers, including Mindy Kaling and Fran Lebowitz, as well as a unique blend of archival footage, Knight's extensive library of home movies and whimsical animations.
In 2012, Lena Dunham befriended Hilary Knight, who created the iconic look of the "Eloise" books. While author Kay Thompson was also an actor, singer, socialite and performance coach to stars such as Judy Garland, Knight remained far below the radar. Now 88, he splits his time between an eccentric home in East Hampton and a modest apartment on 52nd Street in Manhattan, where he has lived for the last 60 years.
Although Knight continued to write and illustrate books after "Eloise," nothing had the same far-reaching success. Conflicts with the complex and prickly Thompson, and eventually her estate, have prevented him from having any significant involvement with the "Eloise" franchise.
Like Eloise, Knight is a remarkable character: odd, temperamental, flamboyant; on one hand, fiercely private, on the other, desperate to make his legacy known; disgusted by pretense, but obsessed with Hollywood, Bollywood and high glamor. By all accounts an overgrown child, Knight is as likely to stage a "frog opera" with unwitting friends in his swimming pool, or throw a birthday party for his cat, as he is to spend hours hard at work at the drawing board. Inhabiting an environment as eccentric as his detailed images, Knight has always used whimsy to escape the challenges of human interaction.
At 88, Knight has the desire to work, but enjoys only limited access to the subject with whom he would most like to work: Eloise. IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE is a portrait of an artist stunted by early success and haunted by personal failures, yet still deeply devoted to his most famous creation.
HBO Documentary Films presents A Casual Romance production; directed by Matt Wolf; producer, Stacey Reiss; executive producers, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner; co-producer, Ericka Naegle; director of photography, Nick Bentgen; editor, Joe Beshenkovsky; original score, Andrew Dost; animated sequences by Grand Jeté.