evan rachel wood plays dolores in season two of westworld.

Evan Rachel Wood Stars in Documentary About Her Experience With Marilyn Manson and Reclaiming the Narrative For Abuse Survivors

'Phoenix Rising' premieres at the Sundance Film Festival later this month.
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***CW: CONTENT WARNING This post discusses domestic and sexual abuse.***

Evan Rachel Wood is coming forward with the domestic abuse she allegedly suffered during her relationship with shock rocker Marilyn Mason in a new documentary premiering in January 2022 at the Sundance Film Festival. Phoenix Rising is directed by Oscar nominee Amy Berg (This Is Personal, The Case Against Adnan Syed), who made the documentary in two parts.

The first part will premiere at Sundance, with both parts airing in the spring on HBO. The documentary will see Wood reclaim her narrative and come forward about the alleged abuses she suffered during the tumultuous relationship, as well as her activism work for survivors of abuse.

Wood wrote in her Instagram caption, “I can finally share with the world, I have teamed up with Amy Berg on a project called Phoenix Rising, a documentary exploring aspects of my life, career, family, the passage of #ThePhoenixAct, and ultimately the decision to name my abuser publicly.”

 

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Wood first discussed her history with domestic violence and sexual abuse in a Rolling Stone interview in 2016. In 2018 she testified before the House Judiciary Committee to support expanding the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights to all 50 states. During her testimony, Wood said, “The aftermath of rape is a huge part of the conversation that needs much more attention, and in this case I can speak from my own experiences. So often we think of these assaults as no more than a few minutes of awfulness, But these scars last a lifetime.”

In 2019, Wood testified before the California Senate to help pass the Phoenix Act, which extended the statute of limitations in domestic violence cases from three to five years and requires police to have additional training.

Berg, who began working on the documentary in 2019, said “It wasn’t about Marilyn Manson, and his whole world, … 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.”

In February 2021, Wood finally named Manson (real name Brian Warner) in a series of Instagram posts as her alleged abuser. After her post went public, several more women came forward with their own allegations of abuse against Manson.

 

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A post shared by Evan Rachel Wood (@evanrachelwood)

“Naming Manson obviously created a lot more story for us. It became a two-part film in the edit bay,” Berg said. Berg has experience documenting the fallout from physical and sexual abuse, directing Deliver Us from Evil (2006), about sex abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Berg also directed An Open Secret, which exposed child sexual abuse in the film industry.

(via Variety, image: HBO)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.