NatGeo’s ‘Fauci’ documentary explores what it means to be a public servant during a crisis, says director

National Geographic for Disney+

We’ve all gotten to know Dr. Anthony Fauci pretty well during the COVID-19 pandemic.  But a new documentary aims to take us deeper into Dr. Fauci’s life and how he emerged on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NatGeo’s Fauci, out now on Disney+, explores the immunologist’s storied career, including when he was appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984.

Co-director Janet Tobias tells ABC Audio that the documentary was actually in the works well before the word “coronavirus” touched headlines. 

“Tony Fauci has served now seven presidents [and] innumerable congresses. He’s testified in front of Congress more than any other living figure,” she said. “I was really interested in the idea of what it means in the 21st century to be a public servant.”

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the documentary’s original focus, which Tobias said excited her colleagues because it meant they were handed a front-row seat to watch history unfold.

“Tony was forged in the AIDS epidemic as a doctor, as a scientist, as a communicator,” the director said. “Then, of course, in COVID, he was tested in all those ways [again].”

Tobias said the documentary explores how Dr. Fauci built “bridges between scientists and activists” during the AIDS epidemic and how, nearly 30 years later, he rebuilt those bridges “every single day” during the pandemic.

However, there was one major condition Fauci had before he’d allow the production crew into his life and work.

“If you interfere with my work in any way, we will stop,” Tobias shared, adding, “Dr. Fauci was very clear with us from the beginning.”

NatGeo is partially owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

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