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Amanda Knox Is Fighting to Take Back Her Story

Credit: Patrik Andersson
Credit: Patrik Andersson

Who owns a person’s story? That’s a question Amanda Knox wants more people to ponder.    

She was incarcerated in Italy for four years after being wrongfully convicted of the 2007 murder of her roommate, Mereditch Kercher. Now, the new film “Stillwater,” directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Matt Damon, tells her story. 

She was exonerated in 2015, but since then the arguably worst time of her life has inspired countless shows, movies and podcasts.  

Amanda says she was powerless to keep control of her own narrative during her trial. Today, she wants to fight to reclaim her story.

A statement from Tom McCarthy, director of “Stillwater,” on the situation:

I really empathize with Amanda and what she went through. She was rightfully found innocent and acquitted in the Meredith Kercher case. She has platforms to speak her truth and engage with the media and she is exercising her absolute right to do so. But, by her own account, she hasn’t seen STILLWATER, and what she seems to be raising feels very removed from the film we actually made.  

Years ago, I made a film about real-life events called Spotlight, and, in that instance, we thoroughly researched and worked closely with the real-life subjects and used real names and events within the film.  That was not the case with STILLWATER since it is a work of fiction. There were a few entry points that sparked the narrative, including an aspect of the Kercher case, but the narrative within my latest film goes in a completely different direction and the story and the characters are all invented. Another entry point for the screenwriting, for example, is the relationship that a relative of mine had with her father who was absent and struggled with addiction. I had a series of phone interviews with her as she carefully laid out the painful dynamic and dysfunction of their relationship and those conversations were core to the relationship between our central character Bill Baker and his daughter Allison and the film. Similarly, Abigail Breslin, who plays Allison Baker, spoke with two relatives who were both incarcerated to explore how they coped with their situations and how they leaned on their spirituality to sustain them.

 I think good films spark conversation in and around the story and I welcome audiences’ engagement in that.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven