Her uncle is John Bouvier III, father of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and it was Jackie O.'s sister, socialite Lee Radziwill, who funded the project that has now resulted in That Summer. Radziwill and legendary photographer Peter Beard hired Albert and David Maysles to make a documentary about her family, particularly focused on their time and residences in the East Hamptons section of Long Island. In addition to the clips of the Beales at Grey Gardens, we see Radziwill interviewing neighbors about her father, the stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III. One man is hesitant to talk to her about Bouvier’s reputation as a ladies man, yet that’s all he can think of. Later, in a new voice-over recorded for That Summer, Radziwill says, "Without memory, there’s no life." But what if the only memories are focused on just one notorious part of a life?
With Grey Gardens, which the Maysles brothers would go on to make on their own after Radziwill shelved the project, the memory of Big Edie and Little Edie Beale is of two reclusive women living in a filthy, decaying home. The HBO movie starring Lange and Barrymore helped flesh out their lives with flashbacks to their early days as part of New York’s elite before they isolated themselves at their East Hampton estate. That Summer fills in the gap of the period when the Beales then became famous in the media for being the poor relatives of Jackie O. who were living in a nearly condemned home, and for Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O.'s husband after JFK, and Radziwill coming to the Beales’ rescue, funding renovations of the mansion and helping with other bills.
The Grey Gardens of That Summer is a much busier place than we see in the Maysles brothers' documentary -- there are visits from the county health inspectors who threaten to evict the women, reporters and a lawyer who came to their defense, and contractors hired to make plumbing and roof repairs. Radziwill’s children, Prince Anthony and Princess Anna Christina, also show up for a bit where they feed bread to the raccoons. Yes, there are moments that will feel familiar to Grey Gardens fans: More raccoons. More cats. More Little Edie singing. More best costumes for the day. More bickering. And there are also wonderful new things for fans to embrace, such as the story of "the Disappointed Chair."