Director Nick Searcy believes his new film “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” is not a political piece but a true story about one of the most horrific abortion cases in America.
In an interview with LifeZette, Searcy (“The Shape of Water,” “Justified”) said Hollywood took the film as political, though, and refused to go near it.
“I believe ‘Gosnell’ is an important, unique film about an event that modern-day Hollywood would not go near,” Searcy said. “I pray it will make an impact. We tried to be honest, and we put the resources we had available to us to the best possible use, and I truly believe we made something profound. I can’t wait for people to see it.”
“Gosnell” will be in theaters beginning Oct. 12. The film follows the true story of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who murdered newborn babies and committed numerous other crimes inside his “house of horrors” abortion facility. It stars Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark”) and is directed by Searcy.
The film has been a long time coming. Four years ago, the struggles began when the crowdfunding site Kickstarter refused to allow producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney to fundraiser there. They later broke a crowdfunding record on Indiegogo.
Searcy said they finished the film two years ago but struggled to find a distributor. More recently, two prominent media outlets – NPR and Facebook — refused to run their ads for the film.
Searcy said the film is not pro-life or pro-choice on abortion, nor is it “right-leaning.” Instead, he said they simply tried to tell a true crime story about Gosnell’s abortion practice.
Here’s more from the interview:
Q: You’ve said a few times on Twitter that this is not an agenda-driven film. A lot of films aimed at right-leaning audiences put politics before story, which sort of dooms them. Was keeping character, story and facts first a conversation you had early on [with the producers and screenwriter Andrew Klavan]?
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A: We all agreed we did not want to make a polemical movie. I have always despised and rejected movies that tried to tell me what to think about a given story, rather than just telling me the story and letting me decide.
I felt very strongly, in creating the shooting script, that we needed to excise any elements that could be considered “fictional.” I thought the power of this story was in the truth of it, and we did not have to preach any position on it. I also saw no use in a movie that only one side of the heated debate about abortion could stand to watch.
Andrew Klavan’s great script contained so much information that I simply did not know about the actual medical procedures involved in a legal abortion, about the politics surrounding the regulation and inspection of abortion clinics, and about what Gosnell did that differentiated his practices from those doctors that operated within the law, that I wanted to make a movie that revealed this information in a way that was as revelatory to the audience as it was to me when I read the script. I feel like we accomplished that.
We did not make a pro-life movie or a pro-choice movie. We made a movie about a crime that happened. No matter what side you are on, you can watch this movie.
If the film does well, Searcy said he thinks it might be a wake-up call for Hollywood.
“I think if ‘Gosnell’ does well at the box office, it will result in Hollywood’s realizing that there is a vastly underserved audience willing to pay money to see truthful films,” he said.
The film and its subject, abortionist Kermit Gosnell, have been largely ignored by the mainstream media for years. In 2013, a jury convicted Gosnell of murdering three newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient, along with numerous other crimes. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison.
The film is rated PG-13. At least 750 theaters across the U.S. are slated to show the film. For more details, visit gosnellmovie.com.