Warning: This article details allegations of sexual assault.
The first part of Phoenix Rising, the new documentary that focuses on the life and career of Evan Rachel Wood, premiered Sunday night (January 23) at the Sundance Film Festival. The film – which director Amy Berg clarified is a work in progress, as Pitchfork reports – details the actress and activist’s tumultuous relationship with the shock rocker, who Wood publicly accused of sexual and physical abuse in February 2021. It also includes new allegations from Wood, who claims that she was “essentially raped on-camera” by Marilyn Manson.
Wood appeared in the music video for Manson’s 2007 single ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)’ when she was 19 years old. In the clip, Wood wears a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses identical to those seen on the poster from Lolita, Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film about a man who becomes sexually obsessed with an underage girl. The video features Manson appearing to have sex with Manson while the duo are drenched in fake blood.
“[The glasses are] so iconic and it was meeting someone who had the sense of humour to know that, OK, people are going to make fun of the fact that it’s a Lolita-esque friendship/relationship, whatever the case might be,” Manson told SPIN in 2007.
“It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be,” Wood said of being in video’s set. “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. It was a really traumatizing experience filming the video. I felt disgusting and that I had done something shameful and I could tell that the crew was uncomfortable and nobody knew what to do.”
“I was coerced into a commercial sex act under false pretenses,” she added in the documentary. “That’s when the first crime was committed against me. I was essentially raped on camera.”
Wood claims that Warner was clear about how she should discuss the video when it came up in interviews at the time. “I was supposed to tell people we had this great, romantic time and none of that was the truth,” she said. “But I was scared to do anything that would upset Brian in any way. The video was just the beginning of the violence that would keep escalating over the course of the relationship.”
Since Wood’s initial accusation, more than a dozen women have come forward with allegations of abuse against Manson, including Game of Thrones actor Esme Bianco. Manson has previously denied all claims of abuse made against him.
Part one of the two-part Phoenix Rising will air in full on HBO later this year.