Amanda Knox Asks Why No One from 'Stillwater' Consulted Her About a Story Inspired by Her Life

'Stillwater'Credit: Dreamworks
Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder, but people keep using her story as a cautionary tale without consulting her. 

The story of Amanda Knox dominated headlines from 2007, when she was accused of murder, until 2015, when she was acquitted. This tragic saga was never over, as the media took facts or instances from Knox's life and used them to inspire sensationalized TV shows, movies, and books.

Knox is now 34, and a journalist as well as a writer. She took to Twitter this week to call out the new Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy movie, Stillwaterfor using details about her life and case without even talking to her. 

In that thread, and on her website, where she wrote a post, Knox explains, "This new film by director Tom McCarthy, starring Matt Damon, is 'loosely based' or 'directly inspired by' the 'Amanda Knox saga,' as Vanity Fair put it in a for-profit article promoting a for-profit film, neither of which I am affiliated with."

She goes on to say, "I want to pause right here on that phrase: 'the Amanda Knox saga.' What does that refer to? Does it refer to anything I did? No. It refers to the events that resulted from the murder of Meredith Kercher by a burglar named Rudy Guede. It refers to the shoddy police work, prosecutorial tunnel vision, and refusal to admit their mistakes that led the Italian authorities to wrongfully convict me, twice.

Knox has a point when the title and thesis of her article and posts ask the question, "Who Owns My Name?" While there is no legal need to consult someone if you're going to be inspired by them to write your movie or TV show, if you wind up using their name to pitch or advertise things, you should probably give them a call. 

While the movie has not been directly called "The Amanda Knox Story" by marketers, no one is shying away from saying that, with numerous publications bringing it up and no one seemingly refuting this. Even if the movie diverges a ton and is actually not that similar when it comes to plot. 

Tom McCarthy had said they didn't use the case extensively. In fact, he told Variety, “We decided, ‘Hey, let’s leave the Amanda Knox case behind,’” yet as Knox writes in her post:

“But let me take this piece of the story—an American woman studying abroad involved in some kind of sensational crime and she ends up in jail—and fictionalize everything around it. Let me stop you right there. That story, my story, is not about an American woman studying abroad 'involved in some kind of sensational crime.' It’s about an American woman NOT involved in a sensational crime, and yet wrongfully convicted. And if you’re going to 'leave the Amanda Knox case behind,' and 'fictionalize everything around it,' maybe don’t use my name to promote it."

Everything boils down to how studios try to sell a movie. The marketing team behind Stillwater probably thought it was smart to tell the general public they could see a movie loosely inspired by something with cultural resonance. But no one stopped to think of how these constant associations with someone whose proven innocence still has her verbally attacked, taken advantage of, and constantly used to sell things of which she has no involvement would feel.

Turns out, she doesn't feel great. 

I think the overall lesson here is that if you have a movie that's going to be loosely inspired by someone who is alive, it's important to try to reach out to them and get the details from them. And if you leave their story far behind in the telling, try to make sure you're not using the name to continue to market the story. 

Let us know what you think about the controversy in the comments.      

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