Stillwater: To what extent has Matt Damon’s new film been inspired by Amanda Knox?
In Matt damonthe new film of Still water, former Jason Bourne trades spy gadgets for a dramatic story involving a young woman in Europe who is imprisoned overseas for a murder she says she didn’t commit.
The premise, Still waterdirector and co-writer of Tom mccarthy recount Vanity Show, is directly inspired by the Amanda knox saga that erupted in Italy after Knox’s roommate was killed in Perugia in 2007. Knox, an American student in Italy, was arrested as a suspect and jailed for four years. (In 2015, Knox was acquitted of the murder by Italy’s highest court.)
McCarthy says that, like many in the world, he was fascinated by history. And the filmmaker, who won an Oscar in 2016 for co-adapting The Boston Globeactual investigation into the sexual abuse of the Catholic Church for Projector– I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to be in Knox’s shoes.
“There were so many characters around the case that I really followed very closely,” says McCarthy. “But really the first thing I took away from it was, what would it be like as an American student to review [to Europe] because what should be one of the most exciting times of a young adult life and to find yourself in this tragedy? There were so many layers to this story that kept everyone behind quite glued…. Who are the people who visit [her], and what are these relationships? Like, what’s the story about the story?”
The dynamic that intrigued McCarthy the most was the young woman’s relationship with her father. With the help of French writers Thomas bidgain and Noah Debre, McCarthy fleshed out a fictional relationship and storyline centered around the true story premise.
“We decided, ‘Hey, let’s put the Amanda Knox case aside,’ McCarthy says. “But let me take that part of the story – an American overseas student involved in some sort of sensational crime and she ends up in jail – and fictionalize everything around her.”
“What was more interesting for [McCarthy] was what happens after all the cameras go off, and what happens to the family, ”said Damon Vanity Show in a separate interview. “And then they made up this story about a thug from Oklahoma who has that kind of a strained relationship with his daughter, and carried all this heartache, shame and pain, and he had damaged that relationship and was trying to fix in the context of her daughter being in jail and feeling somehow responsible for where she ended up and where her life had taken her. And so, I thought that was was a really interesting place to put a movie.
In Still water, student Allison (Abigail Breslin) was imprisoned for a violent crime in Marseille, France, not Perugia, Italy, for five years and more. And unfortunately for Allison, she doesn’t have the strong support system that Knox had. Allison only has her father, Bill Baker (Damon), who is not well, comes from the countryside of Oklahoma to try to help in a foreign country.
Knox’s real father, Curt Knox, was Knox’s strongest support in the four years she spent in Italian prison, providing media updates on her daughter and the family’s efforts to support her. Through Time in 2011:
Damon’s Bill, meanwhile, is a thug armed with a goatee, the quintessential American kind you can spot a mile and a half away. (The creative decision allowed McCarthy and his co-authors to explore racial and political tensions when Bill arrived in France.) Bill has no friends, family, or familiarity with the French language. . But he finds company – and some unexpected intrigues – in a French actress (Camille Cottin) and her daughter (Lilou Siauvaud).