Phoenix Rising director Amy Berg hopes Brian Warner, a.k.a. Marilyn Manson, will watch when Part 2 of the HBO documentary premieres tonight — because it follows actress Evan Rachel Wood’s journey to name Manson as the man she had previously accused of abusing her during their relationship from 2006 to 2011.
“I do hope he watches it,” Berg told MovieMaker.
She’s also ready for viewers to see the rest of the story beyond Part 1 of Phoenix Rising, which premiered in January at Sundance.
“I’m actually really excited that Part 2 is dropping today because so many people had only seen the first half of the film,” she added. “I feel like they’ll have a more thorough understanding of Evan’s story and the other survivors that we document, and I hope that people will have a greater understanding about grooming and domestic violence… I hope that people will feel inspired to go seek help if they need it.”
Manson has denied ever abusing Wood or any other women, and sued Wood earlier this month, alleging defamation. Game of Thrones actor Esmé Bianco and Manson’s former assistant, Ashley Walters, have both filed lawsuits accusing him of sexual abuse.
Though Berg is so proud of the work she’s done on Phoenix Rising, she could be convinced to switch gears for her next project.
“I don’t know how many more of these kinds of films I have in me,” she said. “I’ve done so many films that are so heavy, and I had some hesitation in the beginning because I know how difficult it is to take these things on.”
In the past, Berg has done documentaries like 2012’s West of Memphis, which followed the fight to stop the state of Arkansas from executing a man many believed to be innocent, and 2006’s Deliver Us From Evil, which told the story of a northern California priest who was accused of molesting children of parishioners in the 1970s, to name a few of her projects.
“West of Memphis took a lot out of me, Deliver Us From Evil took a lot out of me,” she said. “I was desensitized by the end of the process. And that’s the kind of stuff that is just, it’s a little unsettling that you have to dig into things that are quite gruesome often and be okay with it. So that’s the kind of stuff that I’m like, it definitely doesn’t sit that well with me that that happens so often. And I guess you could say similar things about the ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses’ video. I mean, it’s very unsettling to watch that.”
In Part 1 of Phoenix Rising, Wood accused Manson of raping her on the set of the “Heart-Shaped Glasses” music video.
But despite the emotionally taxing nature of making docs like Phoenix Rising, Berg is hopeful that it will help others who are facing abuse in their own lives.
“Mostly I’m hoping that this will offer resources for those who need to understand how and when and what to do in a situation where they’re suffering in silence,” she said.
Phoenix Rising: Part 2 premieres Wednesday on HBO Max.
Main Image: Evan Rachel Wood pictured in Phoenix Rising: Part 2 directed by Amy Berg — courtesy of HBO