Phoenix Rising, a new documentary about Evan Rachel Wood that chronicles the abuse allegations leveled against Marilyn Manson, has been added to the lineup of Sundance Film Festival 2022. As Variety reports, the film is directed by Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, The Case Against Adnan Syed), and will arrive on HBO in two parts later this year.
Wood dated Manson from about 2006 to 2010. Afterwards, without mentioning names, she became a vocal advocate for victims of domestic violence, using her own story to help push through California’s Phoenix Act in 2019. On February 1st, 2021, she accused Manson of committing those abuses in a social media post, saying he “started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years.”
According to Berg, Wood approached her in 2019 with the idea of the film that would become Phoenix Rising. At first Berg hoped to support Wood’s documentary from the sidelines, but during the COVID-19 pandemic she decided to direct it herself.
“It wasn’t about Marilyn Manson, and his whole world,” Berg said in an interview. “This was about an Erin Brockovich story. We were really focused on telling a story about empowerment, something that would offer resources for women and men who are stuck in abusive situations. And that was what we were making — until she decided to name him publicly… Naming Manson obviously created a lot more story for us. It became a two-part film in the edit bay.”
While Phoenix Rising includes interviews with “a number of survivors,” Berg said it’s focused on Wood. The docuemntary delves into her history as a child actor and her family, “and how she was forced into adulthood from such young age — like Thirteen and those roles.”
Berg added, “She’s so candid with us. And it’s very personal.”
Disturbing details from Wood’s history with Manson continue to be revealed, including reports that he threatened to assault her son. Last year, she performed karaoke directed at him where she sang, “We’ll kick your ass in.” In the fall, his home was raided by the LA County Sheriff’s Department just days after he received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year for his work on Kanye West’s Donda. The Recording Academy CEO defended the decision, saying, “We won’t look back on people’s histories.”