Filmmaker Michael Bonfiglio “probably” wouldn’t have co-directed the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Doc and Darryl” had he known more about Dwight (Doc) Gooden before committing to the project.
“I want to choose my words carefully,” he said at a screening for the film at Hearst Tower. “My understanding of Doc’s situation evolved from the time the film was conceived and we began filming through to the end.”
He added, “When we started the film, we thought we were making a film about two people who had come out the other side and it would be a redemptive story for both of our subjects,” he said. “I think that he struggles.”
Gooden and his former teammate Darryl Strawberry famously led the Mets to their second World Series championship in 1986 — a feat the team still hasn’t repeated. Both players’ budding careers wound up being plagued by drug abuse and brushes with the law.
According to Bonfiglio, he was hoping the ESPN documentary, which airs on July 14, would have a happy ending. Now he says that he “probably wouldn’t have started” the project had he known Gooden better.
Gooden admitted to Daily News sportswriter John Harper last month that “The fight is always there,” but insisted he hadn’t touched cocaine since 2011 — March 4 to be exact.
Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry are the subject of an ESPN documentary.
(Linda Cataffo/New York Daily News)
“He’s in the film,” Bonfiglio makes clear. “He showed up when we needed him to.”
Bonfiglio’s co-director Judd Apatow was also at a loss to explain Gooden’s lifelong struggles.
“It’s impossible to really know what’s happening there,” he said. “I hope that those guys can stay strong and be sober and have good lives.”
Apatow says both players’ problems with addiction are a combination of nature and nurture. Plus, many superstars were riding the white pony in those days.
“It’s the ’80s and cocaine is what everybody is doing,” he said. “I think it’s been very difficult for them. And they’re both dealing with it in very different ways.”
With Jeffrey Slonim