Filming for Lifetime's unauthorized Britney Spears biopic is already underway, recreating scenes from the lowest points in the star's public life. On Thursday, production began on one of the most troubling incidents. The Daily Mail caught the scene, being filmed in Toronto, in which Spears (Natasha Bassett) is in her car and surrounded by aggressive paparazzi. In the 2007 incident, Spears jumped out of her car and started swinging an umbrella at the paps. Even though we've seen these images before, the aerial bird's-eye view of the scene is upsetting. You can see how terrifying it is to be swarmed by photographers.
At the time, Spears was battling mental health issues and collapsing under the pressure of public scrutiny. (Later that day, she checked back into a rehab center. In the 2013 E! documentary I Am Britney Jean, she talks about dealing with social anxiety, depression, feelings of alienation, and bipolar disorder.) It's not surprising that Spears wants nothing to do with the film. In August, her spokesperson said that Spears "will not be contributing in any way, shape, or form to the Lifetime biopic. Nor does it have her blessing."
One thing going for the film, despite Spears' denouncement of it? This scene, at least, reiterates the fact that paparazzi overstep personal boundaries — and that Spears was a scared, threatened young woman that needed our empathy, not our ridicule.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.