Al Pacino May Star in Movie Glorifying Assisted Suicide Advocate Jack Kevorkian

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Al Pacino May Star in Movie Glorifying Assisted Suicide Advocate Jack Kevorkian

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 28
, 2009

Hollywood, CA ( — Actor Al Pacino is reportedly in current negotiations to star in a new HBO Films movie glorifying the life of assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian. The retired pathologist became the scourge of the nation when he embarked on a campaign claiming to kill more than 125 people in assisted suicides.

Kevorkian took advantage of the state of Michigan not having a direct assisted suicide ban and never served a day in jail until he went further by killing a patient.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film will "trace his rise as he builds his infamous ‘Mercy Machine,’ conducts his first assisted suicide, and starts a media frenzy with his epic legal battles."

Adam Mazer is the author of the script, which is loosely based on "Between the Dying and the Dead: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Assisted Suicide Machine and the Battle to Legalize Euthanasia" by Neal Nicol, an acolyte of Kevorkian’s.

Barry Levinson will direct the film, according to the Hollywood web site, and Steven L. Jones, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Glenn Rigberg with be the executive producers.

The project has been in development for some time and the people behind the movie originally had Ben Kingsley pegged to play the suicide "doctor."

Bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith isn’t enthused about the new movie.

"The culture of death is being pushed from many quarters, perhaps most harmfully by the purveyors of popular culture," he says.

"Jack Kevorkian assisted the suicides of at least 130 people–most of whom were not terminally ill and five of whom were not sick according to autopsies–and murdered one," Smith adds. "He ripped out the kidneys of one of his victims after death, that of a former cop who had become quadriplegic from a gunshot wound."

Smith says Kevorkian’s ultimate goal was "obitiatry," which is the experimenting on living human beings before they were euthanized.

"But none of that mattered or matters. And now, he is going to be celebrated in a puff movie," Smith says. "You could not get a more ghoulish, solipsist public figure than Kevorkian. Yet, he is to be beatified, Hollywood style. Color me absolutely disgusted."

In a speech last year at the University of Florida, Kevorkian said he killed about 20 percent of the people who came to him and asked him for his help in taking their lives.

"My aim in helping the patient was not to cause death," he said.

Kevorkian was released from prison in 2007 on parole after spending eight years behind bars in the intentional killing of Thomas Youk in 1998. Youk’s euthanasia death was shown on national television and Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder.

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