Filmmaker Louis Theroux, who has built a career interviewing people on the fringes of society, says he thinks Donald Trump could win the US election for the same reasons Britain voted to leave the EU.
Speaking to 7.30 on the Melbourne leg of his Australian tour, Theroux said the Republican candidate and the Brexit push had a similar movement behind them.
“I didn’t really see it [Brexit] coming, no, but I always think there is a silent majority — there’s a phenomenon called the Shy Tory, the right-leaning voter who is a bit bashful about expressing candidly his or her opinions. So it didn’t massively surprise me,” he said.
“I think there’s a feeling of, a grassroots feeling of being betrayed by the elites in some way, that the system is working for itself and not for the people at the bottom.
“I think the same thing is behind Trump.
“I think a lot of people feel let down by the whole Republican and Democrats political system and see Trump as, for all his flaws, a breath of fresh air.”
Does he think Mr Trump could win?
“I think he could win, absolutely. I think he could win because there’s Trump supporters out there who aren’t even revealing themselves as such. For me that’s a scary prospect because I think he’d be a disastrous president.”
Theroux Down Under?
After a career spent mostly in the US, Theroux has returned to the UK for two new films, one about alcohol abuse and the other about living with a brain injury.
Australia could be next.
“I have thought about it quite a bit over the years,” he said.
“I’d like to get into the outback. I’m curious about the relationship between the races here and especially conditions the Indigenous community is living in.”
State of documentary films
Despite major changes to the media landscape in recent few years, Theroux believes there will be a market for the sort of long-form factual programs he makes well into the future.
“I feel lucky I’ve been doing this for 20 years and if it ended tomorrow I’d be very sorry, but I’d take it on the chin,” he said.
“Having said that I think it’s a healthy scene, the BBC seems to be in rude health, you’ve got platforms like Netflix and Hulu and all kinds of on-demand long-form documentaries.
“The documentary genre, shows like Making a Murderer and The Jinx on HBO, there’s been a whole raft of long-form docs.”
The ones who got away
When it comes to people Theroux wanted to interview but never did, he said actor Charlie Sheen “would have been great, especially when he was going through that weird moment of announcing he was winning the whole time”.
He also would have liked to interview Heather Mills when she was married to former Beatle Paul McCartney.
“I found that relationship intriguing,” Theroux said.
He would also like to do a story on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.
“I’ve got an interest in Zimbabwe, I spent a few months there before uni, so I’d like to get back to that,” he said.
– Hayden Cooper and Myles Wearring