Evan Rachel Wood’s allegations against Brian Warner, a.k.a., “Marilyn Manson,” caused a flood of other women to come forward. Now, she’s teamed up with an award-winning director for a documentary, which will appear on HBO and (in the meantime) head to Sundance.
Evan came forward in early 2021 to name Manson as her alleged abuser, who she had previously spoken about while testifying for legislators on behalf of abuse survivors. She accused Manson of terrorizing, grooming, and horrifically abusing her during their relationship (from 2007, when she was 18 and he was 26, forward). Since Wood came forward to name Manson, several other women (including former Manson assistant Ashley Walters and Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco) have detailed their allegations against him.
Manson’s home has subsequently been raided by the LA County Sheriff as part of the ongoing sexual assault investigation, and Wood’s been putting the final touches on Phoenix Rising, a two-part documentary that will chronicle her abuse allegations against the singer. The Oscar-winning Amy Berg spoke with Variety about why she agreed (after Wood approached her in 2019) to direct this project:
“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.”
So, the project was already well in motion when Wood came forward to name Manson, and at that point, this became (according to Berg) “a two-part film in the edit bay.” That meant adding more texture to the story in addition to the “number of survivors” who were already appearing in the project. Berg is calling the totality of the two-parter as “a really intimate portrait of Evan,” including her family life and early days “and how she was forced into adulthood from such young age — like Thirteen, and those roles.” Berg added, “And it’s very personal.”
Wood previously testified during U.S. congressional testimony to support the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act. This project will, no doubt, strike a further chord with helping abuse survivors rise above their own experiences, too.