Amanda Knox Thinks Matt Damon’s New Movie Stillwater Is Exploiting Her Story

PHoto: Paula Lobo/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images.
Six years after her high profile criminal prosecution ended in acquittal, Amanda Knox still feels like she’s standing trial in the court of public opinion, and she believes that new project Stillwater isn’t helping her case. Knox is accusing writer/director Tom McCarthy of using her notorious story as the framework for his Matt Damon film, claiming that its close reading of her circumstances comes at the “expense of [her] reputation."
In 2009, Knox was officially convicted of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, the young woman who shared an apartment with her while they both studied in Italy. The prior investigation into the murder drew attention from all over the world, resulting in heightened global interest into Knox's case. After spending four years in an Italian prison, Knox was acquitted of the crime and released back into society, where she would begin a career as an author and podcaster in the hopes of leaving the drama of the trial behind her.
Unfortunately, the circumstances around her early 2000s legal woes are resurfacing in new movie Stillwater. Though filmmaker McCarthy claims that the plot is only loosely based on Knox and her experience in Italy, the premise is strikingly familiar: a young woman studying abroad in Europe is imprisoned after being accused of murdering her friend. The exact details do differ slightly — the story follows the teenager's father (Damon) and his desperate attempt to save his child, and the story takes place in Marseille, France — but it's hitting too close for home for Knox, who shared her frustrations with her followers on Twitter in a lengthy thread.
"Does my name belong to me? My face? What about my life? My story?" Knox tweeted on Thursday, July 29. "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."
Knox's complaints stem from a recent interview that McCarthy did with Vanity Fair in which he described Stillwater as being "directly inspired by” the “Amanda Knox saga." Knox takes offense to being an indirect source for the storyline, writing that because she was acquitted by Italian courts, any narrative inspired by her story shouldn't involve an actual crime being committed. Doing so only adds to the ongoing notion that she was somehow guilty in the murder.
She does have a perspective to share: that of a woman who was found innocent after being wrapped up in a complicated case. Unfortunately, McCarthy didn't think to tell that story.
"By fictionalising 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," Knox tweeted. "And with Matt Damon’s star power, both are sure to profit handsomely off of this fictionalisation of 'the Amanda Knox saga' that is sure to leave plenty of viewers wondering, 'Maybe the real-life Amanda was involved somehow.'"
Stillwater isn't the first project in recent times to be blasted for inaccuracies by the people it was inspired by; Aretha Franklin's family publicly decried the release of National Geographic's limited series Genius: Aretha, and the Guccis are legitimately fuming about the depiction of their high fashion family tree in the upcoming House of Gucci. Knox's concerns and those of others whose lives have inspired controversial works do raise an important question that might not ever spawn a definitive answer: can anyone ever really own a story, even if it's directly pulled from their own experience? There's clearly a difference between inspiration and exploitation, but in Hollywood, that distinction isn't always black and white.

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