The trailer for the new movie Phoenix Rising starts with gentle, rolling synthesized tones – miles away from the abrasive goth-rock that made its antagonist a star.
“It’s always really hard for me to look at photos of myself from before,” says Evan Rachel Wood, one of the women who claims rocker Marilyn Manson sexually assaulted her. Wood then goes through pictures of herself as a young woman, innocent and open.
“I’m here today to talk about Brian Warner,” she says, “also known to the world as Marilyn Manson.”
Phoenix Rising, which recently made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Warner’s abuse of not only Wood but a group of other women and how she decided to battle back.
Wood says, among other shocking instances of abuse, Warner assaulted her on camera during the filming of Manson’s 2007 video for “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” where the two appear to have sex while blood drips on them like rain. Wood said she was barely awake for the scene and wasn’t able to object. She was 19 at the time.
“It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be,” Wood says in the documentary, according to Variety. “We’re doing things that were not what was pitched to me. We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real. I had never agreed to that. It was complete chaos. I did not feel safe. No one was looking after me.”
Here’s the official synopsis:
The documentary follows actress and activist Evan Rachel Wood as she takes her experience as a survivor of domestic violence to pursue justice, heal generational wounds and reclaim her story. Almost a decade after escaping a dangerous relationship, Wood co-authors and successfully lobbies for passage of The Phoenix Act, legislation that extends the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in California. Wood courageously uses her own experience to bring visibility to the issue; ultimately, in solidarity with fellow survivors.
Manson, for his part, has denied the allegations against him.
“Of all the false claims that Evan Rachel Wood has made about Brian Warner, her imaginative retelling of the making of the ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses’ music video 15 years ago is the most brazen and easiest to disprove, because there were multiple witnesses,” Warner’s lawyer told EW earlier this year. “Evan was not only fully coherent and engaged during the three-day shoot but also heavily involved in weeks of pre-production planning and days of post-production editing of the final cut. The simulated sex scene took several hours to shoot with multiple takes using different angles and several long breaks in between camera setups. Brian did not have sex with Evan on that set, and she knows that is the truth.”
The documentary arrives on HBO Max in two parts on back-to-back nights on March 15.
If you know someone suffering from sexual violence, contact RAINN or the National Sexual Abuse Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.