Amanda Knox, the American woman who was convicted and then exonerated of the 2007 murder of her roommate and fellow exchange student while studying in Italy, has called out Tom McCarthy’s new film “Stillwater” for making a “profit” off her life story. In the film, Matt Damon plays an oil rigger and father to a young woman who, while estranged from him and visiting France, is accused of a crime she says she did not commit. While McCarthy has said that the similarities — in that both Knox’s story and the film center around an American tourist swept up in a sensational crime — stop there, Knox blasted the movie in a Medium.com essay as well as on Twitter (see below).
“This new film by director Tom McCarthy, starring Matt Damon, is ‘loosely based’ or ‘directly inspired by’ the ‘Amanda Knox saga,’ as Vanity Fair put it in a for-profit article promoting a for-profit film, neither of which I am affiliated with,” Knox wrote. “I want to pause right here on that phrase: ‘the Amanda Knox saga.’ What does that refer to? Does it refer to anything I did? No. It refers to the events that resulted from the murder of Meredith Kercher by a burglar named Rudy Guede. It refers to the shoddy police work, prosecutorial tunnel vision, and refusal to admit their mistakes that led the Italian authorities to wrongfully convict me, twice.”
Knox also used the essay to dive into the sexism and objectification she experienced in the press during her six-year legal battle (Knox is now 34), and the lack of “agency” she had throughout the ordeal.
“In those four years of wrongful imprisonment and 8 years of trial, I had near-zero agency,” she said. “Everyone else in that ‘saga’ had more influence over the course of events than I did. The erroneous focus on me by the Italian authorities led to an erroneous focus on me by the press, which shaped how I was presented to the world. In prison, I had no control over my public image, no voice in my story.”
Prior to Knox speaking out, McCarthy has stressed that his film is not intended to be an adaptation of Knox’s experience. He told Yahoo, “All I wanted was that bit of the story – American woman, student rather even, in jail for a crime she may have or may not have committed. Beyond that, there is not really much comparison that I know of to the Amanda Knox story.” McCarthy, who previously directed Best Picture winner “Spotlight,” told Vanity Fair that his ambition was to “take this piece of the story — an American woman studying abroad involved in some kind of sensational crime and she ends up in jail — and fictionalize everything around it.”
Knox, who said in her piece that McCarthy never reached out, said, “If you’re going to ‘leave the Amanda Knox case behind,’ and ‘fictionalize everything around it,’ maybe don’t use my name to promote it. You’re not leaving the Amanda Knox case behind very well if every single review mentions me. You’re not leaving the Amanda Knox case behind when my face appears on profiles and articles about the film.”
She added, “By fictionalizing away my innocence, my total lack of involvement, by erasing the role of the authorities in my wrongful conviction, McCarthy reinforces an image of me as a guilty and untrustworthy person. And with Matt Damon’s star power, both are sure to profit handsomely off of this fictionalization of ‘the Amanda Knox saga’ that is sure to leave plenty of viewers wondering, ‘Maybe the real-life Amanda was involved somehow.'”
Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story? Why does my name refer to events I had no hand in? I return to these questions because others continue to profit off my name, face, & story without my consent. Most recently, the film #STILLWATER.
/ a thread
— Amanda Knox (@amandaknox) July 29, 2021