The trailer for Netflix’s college admissions documentary is here. And it’s a doozy
Surprise, surprise: The 2019 college admissions scandal that rocked the nation is getting the documentary treatment on Netflix.
On Monday, the streaming giant released its first trailer for “Operation Varsity Blues,” a cinematic deep dive into the myriad methods the rich and the famous — including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman — used to bribe and cheat their children’s way into top universities, including Stanford, USC and UCLA.
At the center of the scam and the documentary is mastermind William “Rick” Singer, who pleaded guilty to a number of charges related to the ploy in 2019 and faces up to 65 years in prison for his crimes.
In addition to interviews and raw court footage, Netflix hired actors to reenact recorded scenarios between Singer and his privileged clients, who voice concerns about getting “caught” for fudging their kids’ qualifications and paying exorbitant amounts of money to university contacts in exchange for acceptance letters.
“We help the wealthiest families in the U.S. get their kids into school,” Singer (played by Matthew Modine) says in Monday’s preview for the film, which features conversations re-created from real FBI wiretaps.
William “Rick” Singer stepped into a conference room at a Newport Beach Marriott one morning last January to hear how his master plan was progressing.
“I’ve done 761 what I would call ‘side doors.’ The front door means getting in on your own,” Modine’s Singer says. “So I’ve created this kind of side door in, because my families want a guarantee. The only way someone can catch it is if you guys tell someone.”
Among the prospective students mentioned in the trailer are a “5-foot-5 men’s basketball player,” “a high school cheerleader made to look like a lacrosse player” and another high school senior posing as a water polo athlete.
“It truly is amazing what people will say on the phone when they don’t know the feds are listening,” one interviewee remarks.
“My view of the admissions process is some students getting in on pure merit but many others getting in due to preferences that skew rich and white,” muses another.
Lawyers for parents charged in the case are seeking documents from USC that they believe will show the role donations play in admissions decisions.
Of course, a teaser for a movie about the college admissions scandal wouldn’t be complete without cameos from its most high-profile parents, Huffman and Loughlin, both of whom ended up pleading guilty and serving time for their offenses.
“They had every advantage,” one person says in the trailer. “And yet they still cheated.”
Directed by Chris Smith — known for the buzzy music-festival documentary “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” — “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” premieres March 17 on Netflix.
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