Franklin: We Speak to Executive Producer Tim Van Patten

Dept. of Chats and Confabs


In December 1776, a 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin, along with his 17-year-old grandson Temple in tow, heads to France to ask the French monarchy for help in the fight for American independence. In this Goggler exclusive, we speak to Franklin executive producer and director, Tim Van Patten, about bringing this story to a contemporary audience, Benjamin Franklin’s swagger, and a pivotal scene in the series.

Franklin is now streaming on Apple TV Plus.

Based on Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff’s book, “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America,” Franklin explores the thrilling story of the greatest gamble of Benjamin Franklin’s career. In December 1776, Franklin is world famous for his electrical experiments, but his passion and power are put to the test when – as the fate of American independence hangs in the balance – he embarks on a secret mission to France. At age 70, without any diplomatic training, Franklin convinced an absolute monarchy to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy. By virtue of his fame, charisma and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers and hostile colleagues to engineer the Franco-American alliance of 1778 and the peace treaty with England in 1783. The eight-year French mission stands as Franklin’s most vital service to his country, without which America could not have won the Revolution. Diplomats and historians still regard it as the greatest single tour of duty by an ambassador in the nation’s history.

Franklin was directed by Tim Van Patten and stars Michael Douglas, Noah Jupe, Thibault de Montalembert, Daniel Mays, Ludivine Sagnier, Eddie Marsan, Assaad Bouab, Jeanne Balibar, and Theodore Pellerin.

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