Filmmaker Ken Burns is going in a more low-stakes direction for his next project after the 18-hour Vietnam War documentary series, with Inquirer reporting that he’s going to make a documentary on Minnesota’s famous Mayo Clinic that is only two hours long. Burns has actually been treated at the Mayo Clinic, and he was so “impressed by the level and detail of his medical care” that he decided to explore why this hospital operates so much capably than other hospitals in The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science.
The hospital was founded in 1883 and is now such a massive operation that it can treat 14,000 patients in 24 hours, and Burns says that its story is as “quintessentially American” as that of baseball, the national parks, and the Civil War—which happen to be the subjects of some other Ken Burns documentaries. Basically, this would be like if George Lucas were making a movie about a hospital and he playfully teased that it would be as exciting as a movie about space battles. We’re not saying Burns’ The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science definitely won’t have the impact of The Civil War, but it does seem unlikely.
Anyway, the movie is co-directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers in addition to Burns, and it will feature vocal cameos from Tom Hanks, Sam Waterston, and Blythe Danner.