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Picabo’s Frank Marshall Talks Teaming Up With Olympic Medalist Lindsey Vonn For The Documentary

Lindsey Vonn and Frank Marshall
(Image credit: The Daily Show/Flicks and the City)

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are nearly upon us and, with that, comes a selection of cool content to get fans pumped for the event. One production that’s been released this year is Picabo, which centers on famed skier and Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street. The doc comes from legendary producer and director Frank Marshall, but he wasn’t alone in the endeavor. Marshall was joined by none other than skiing legend Lindsey Vonn, who served as both co-director and producer. And just recently, Marshall opened up about landing the project and teaming up with Vonn.

Those who know Frank Marshall are probably aware that he’s done just about everything at this point in his career. The seasoned producer has helped oversee the widely watched Indiana Jones franchise since it kicked off with Raiders of the Lost Ark in the ‘80s and also helped reinvigorate Matt Damon’s Bourne franchise. However, he’s also emerged as a skilled documentarian, having helmed the Emmy-winning The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart just a few years ago. When I recently spoke to him over the phone about choosing Picabo as his follow-up, he revealed that it was Lindsey Vonn who brought the idea to his attention:

Well, another one of my passions, I love music. I love sports. And I love to make movies. And I seem to have sort of reinvented myself to make documentaries lately. And I just thought Picabo’s story was unique and different. And I've been making a series for the Olympic channel called Five Rings films where we tell stories about Olympians. And this just seemed to be the perfect fit for you know, this year with the Winter Olympics coming up. And so when Lindsey Vonn came to us with this idea, I thought, ‘Well, it’s kind of perfect.’ And she said, ‘Well, you know I've never directed anything before. But here's this idea.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, I'm able to do it together. So Picabo was Lindsey's skiing mentor, and I became Lindsey’s filmmaking mentor.

Most know Lindsey Vonn as a former world-class athlete, who has amassed a number of accolades, including an Olympic gold medal. In addition, she takes the time to promote worthy causes and increase public interest in skiing. But as Frank Marshall explained, she’s also proven to be a proficient filmmaker. Marshall went on to break down what Vonn brought to their movie on the creative side of things, particularly one key element relating to the film's subject:

Well, I think [Lindsey’s] talents extend far beyond her incredible skiing career. She's really smart, and she's really creative. I found her to be very creative. … One of the things that you base the construction of a documentary on is your key interview with the subject. And Lindsey did this brilliant interview, those were her questions. We talked about what direction we should go in, but those were her questions and her insight and her empathy. And I think really her true friendship with Picabo is what kind of comes through and makes it really emotional and unique because the two of them could identify with each other about their experiences and their journey. And then you know, what we discover along the way is that Picabo had an incredible career ... But there's this big physical and mental cost that nobody knew about. And I think that Lindsey was able to draw that out of her, and she might have not talked about it without Lindsey being there.

The interview between the two skiers is indeed quite compelling and, as the co-director explains, it arguably helped Picabo Street to open up a bit more. And that’s definitely a good thing, considering that Street is one of the most interesting athletes the Olympics have ever seen. The Idaho native’s determination and love of skiing propelled her to greatness within the sport. While she experienced her share of professional (and personal) setbacks as well, she managed to persevere and earned her place among the all-time greats in the sport. Check out the trailer down below:

But of course, if you want all of the details, you can stream Frank Marshall and Lindsey Vonn’s Picabo (opens in new tab), with the help of a Peacock subscription. The platform will also serve as the streaming home of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which kick off on Friday, February 4th. And while you’re using the service, be sure to check out some of the great movies it has to offer.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.