Evan Rachel Wood’s abuse allegations against Marilyn Manson surprised her ‘Phoenix Rising’ director.
Filmmaker Amy Berg, 51, started filming the actress for what she thought would be a chronicle of an ‘Erin Brockovich’-type story about women who had survived abuse and lobbied for a change to the statute of limitations for past crimes.
But during film Wood named ex-boyfriend Marilyn Manson, born Brain Warner, as an alleged abuser – which the singer, 53, denies.
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 felt the resulting film, which premiered at Sundance and is now on HBO, warranted its resulting two parts.
She added: “We were in the edit and it was just impossible to tell her forward-moving story without telling the story of the past.
“And so we started doing that and it seemed more dense than what could fit in a first act of a film. It just evolved into two parts, basically.”
It features footage of Wood and other survivors testifying about abuse they say they suffered, as well as interviews with other former girlfriends of Warner’s who said they experienced similar treatment.
Berg said about how harrowing it was to deal with the “dark material” during the pandemic: “It was wrenching in one way, but it was also empowering.
“The validation that the survivors got from each other from telling their stories – they were basically finishing each other’s sentences because they all had such similar stories. As heart-wrenching as it was, it was also incredibly inspiring to see those moments.
“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 hours after he was dropped by his record label over the accusations, and as another three women made claims against him – bringing the total number of accusers to eight at the time.
They included Wood, who he began dating when she was 19 and he was aged 36.