With so many disturbing true-life films made each year, it’s hard to believe that anyone’s story could be off-limits to Hollywood. But, a proposed documentary about the billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has officially been nixed due to its “distasteful” material, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Filmmaker Barry Avrich told the publication that when he was developing the story behind the now-shelved documentary, there was little interest in the subject matter or Epstein. This despite the fact that Epstein was convicted years prior in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14 and continued to move freely in high-profile circles.
"As I began to dig further into the story, the subject matter became more distasteful to me and I honestly felt there wasn’t much of an audience who would be interested in this film,” Avrich said. “I have since decided to terminate any involvement in this project."
No stranger to covering heinous people, Avrich’s previous films include Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project, which examined the life and work of the now-disgraced Hollywood executive. But while Epstein’s story proved to be too much for Avrich, Netflix is moving full-steam ahead with an Epstein project of their own.
The streaming giant’s four-part docuseries will be based on the book Filthy Rich: The Billionaire’s Sex Scandal — The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein co-written by James Patterson, who is executive producing the series alongside John Connolly and Tim Malloy.
Production on the docuseries reportedly started before Epstein’s recent charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges, was denied bail, and remains in jail pending trial.