Her ‘Phoenix Rising’ director was taken aback by Evan Rachel Wood’s abuse charges against Marilyn Manson.
Amy Berg, 51, began filming the actress in the hopes of creating a “Erin Brockovich”-style documentary about women who had survived abuse and pushed for a change in the statute of limitations for past offences.
However, during the film, Wood refers to his ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson, also known as Brain Warner, as an accused abuser, something the singer, 53, disputes.
Berg told The Wrap: “Like any documentary, you think you’re following one thing and then a story starts unfolding, and you have to figure out which direction to go.
“We were loosely following her advocacy work with other survivors for a few years, and then she named him.”
Berg believed that the resulting picture, which debuted at Sundance and is currently available on HBO, deserved to be split into two parts.
“We were in the edit,” she said, “and it was just difficult to present her forward-moving story without sharing her backstory.”
“So we started doing that, and it seemed more thick than what could be contained in a film’s first act.” “It basically evolved into two pieces.”
It includes footage of Wood and other survivors testifying about alleged abuse, as well as interviews with Warner’s other former partners who claim they were subjected to similar treatment.
“It was heartbreaking in one way, but it was also powerful,” Berg remarked about dealing with the “dark material” during the pandemic.
“The survivors obtained validation from each other by narrating their stories — they were virtually finishing one other’s sentences since their stories were so similar.” Seeing those moments, as heartbreaking as they were, was also extremely uplifting.
“It was dark material, and that was challenging for sure.
“It’s hard not to take things like this home with you, especially during a pandemic when you’re working at home and you’re isolated all the time.
“But I really wanted to make sure that people understood the cycle of abuse and could look for the warning signs. And it was satisfying to watch Evan’s journey and to watch her grow as we followed her.”
In 2021, Manson – whose exes include leading #MeToo campaigner, 48-year-old Rose McGowan – dismissed sexual abuse allegations against him as “horrible distortions of reality”.
His denial came just hours after his record company dismissed him over the allegations, and three more women came forward to accuse him, bringing the total number of accusers to eight at the time.
Wood, whom he began dating when she was 19 and he was 36, was one of them.