Evan Rachel Wood Documentary Chronicling Marilyn Manson Abuse Allegation to Screen at Sundance
It was almost a year ago that actress Evan Rachel Wood ended previous speculation and named Marilyn Manson as her abuser after first speaking in 2018 about her history with domestic violence. As 2022 begins, we will get some more insight into that decision as a new documentary based on Wood's activism, titled Phoenix Rising, is set to screen at the Sundance Film festival. It will also air in two parts on HBO in the coming months.
After Wood's February 2021 allegation, Manson first replied that the claims against him were "horrible distortions of reality. My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how … others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth." However, more accusers came forward after Wood shared her account and publicly named the singer. Multiple lawsuits have also been filed.
As Variety reports, though the Manson accusation was not the initial impetus for the documentary, which has been in the works for over two years, it definitely added a layer to the story that wasn't initially expected.
The idea for the documentary started when Wood approached director Amy Berg about documenting her story as the Westworld actress began to further her 2019 campaign to get the Phoenix Act passed in California. The law extended the statute of limitations on domestic violence felonies from three to five years.
Though Rolling Stone offered a lengthy and detailed investigation into the allegations against Manson, the new film offers a more personal view documenting Wood's journey to making her February 2021 announcement.
“It wasn’t about Marilyn Manson, and his whole world,” Berg said of the origins of the project. “This was about an Erin Brockovich story. We were really focused on telling a story about empowerment, something that would offer resources for women and men who are stuck in abusive situations. And that was what we were making — until she decided to name him publicly.”
The director added, “It’s a really intimate portrait of Evan, and I had incredible access."
While the documentary is being broken down into two parts for HBO, the director reveals the first part will focus on the period prior to her allegations and the strength gained after her previously veiled allegations started to recirculate. Berg says it was also during this time that they learned of an FBI investigation into the singer's past actions. The second part of the documentary will then focus on Wood's decision to come forward and what happened in the aftermath of naming Manson.
While the naming of her abuser is definitely a pivotal moment in her activism, Phoenix Rising also digs further into the actress' past, giving viewers a look at her family life, the start of her career as a child actor and how entering an adult world at a young age impacted her world view.
For a more detailed look at the allegations of abuse against Manson, check out the timeline below.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available to help. Please visit RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) online or dial 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).