Matt Damon is earning critical praise for his performance in “Stillwater,” but not everyone is a fan of the new movie.
Amanda Knox, who was convicted and then exonerated in the 2007 murder of fellow exchange student Meredith Kercher, took aim at Damon and “Stillwater” director Tom McCarthy in a lengthy Twitter thread that was also published as a blog on her website.
The film, she wrote, profits off “my name, face, and story without my consent” and “at the expense of my reputation.”
Knox, 34, was particularly critical of a Vanity Fair article published Thursday in which McCarthy said he’d used her controversial case as the basis for the “Stillwater” script ― which he co-wrote with Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré and Marcus Hinchey ― before deciding to “fictionalize everything around it.”
“Stillwater,” which premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival earlier this month, follows Bill Baker (played by Damon), an Oklahoma oil worker who relocates to Marseille, France, after his daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin), is wrongfully charged with murdering a friend.
Originally slated for a 2020 release, the movie hit theaters Friday after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Knox spent four years imprisoned for the 2007 killing of Kercher, her roommate, in Perugia, Italy, where both women were studying abroad. She was fully exonerated in 2015 and now works as a journalist and podcast host.
In his interview with Vanity Fair, McCarthy said he was “fascinated” by Knox’s story, noting that he and his co-writers also drew from true crime podcasts like “Serial” when working on the “Stillwater” screenplay.
“There were so many characters around the case that I really followed pretty closely,” he said. “But really the first thing that I took away from it was, what would that be like as an American student to go over [to Europe] for what should be one of the most exciting moments in a young-adult life and to find yourself in that tragedy? There were just so many layers to that story that kept anyone who was following pretty riveted.”
Of course, “Stillwater” is not the first Hollywood property to draw from the case. In 2011, Lifetime released “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy” starring Hayden Panettiere as Knox. In 2019, executive producer Danny Strong acknowledged that Fox’s “Proven Innocent” was “a very fictionalized version” of Knox’s story. The series was canceled after one season.
And like those earlier projects, “Stillwater” shifts “attention away from the memory of Meredith Kercher” and reinforces “the tabloid conspiracy [guilty] version of me,” Knox wrote.
In retribution, she jokingly offered to write a screenplay based on Damon’s life that, according to her, would take similar liberties with his story.
Elsewhere in the thread, she invited McCarthy and Damon to appear on her podcast, “Labyrinths,” so that she could better relay her views.
“I bet we could have a fascinating conversation about identity, and public perception, and who should get to exploit a name, face, and story that has entered the public imagination,” she said.