A billionaire who is “capable of spending every single penny on some project that was going to lose it all.” Sound familiar? This isn’t an assessment of Elon Musk tanking Twitter, but a reflection on eccentric British mogul Richard Branson in the new HBO Max four-part docuseries Branson, premiering December 1, 2022. The fact that the description can be applied to multiple powerful entrepreneurs is somewhat troubling, but birds of a feather do flock together. (Or in this case, all try to get to space before the others.)
“Sixteen days before Richard Branson is scheduled to make a potentially historic flight as the first passenger to reach space in his own spacecraft in July 2021, the billionaire entrepreneur sits down for a conversation with acclaimed filmmaker Chris Smith, in light of the risk that lies ahead,” reads a synopsis from HBO. “BRANSON reveals the ups and downs of a man driven by risk taking in both his business and personal life, reflecting on the costs and rewards of his lifelong, relentless optimism and boundary-pushing.”
The trailer for the series focuses a lot on Branson’s daring stunts, many of which were done to promote his enterprises with the Virgin Group. “Risk taking is a drug. A drug that started as a child, and has continued in my life ever since,” he says. His wife Joan, interviewed in a casual lounge, agrees. “He thrives on jeopardy. It’s a continuation of his childhood,” she reiterates, later adding: “We’ve never taken it for granted that this couldn’t all just disappear–poof.”
The trailer ends on an uplifting note, seeming to depict Branson’s boundary-pushing behavior as inspirational. “I just feel you should throw yourself into life. Life is short anyway. And I think it should be lived to its full,” he shares. Given public exasperation with the antics of billionaires, this tone may be a tough sell in the current climate. But if you’re someone who’s actually interested in the rich guy space race, well, this is the docuseries for you!