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It was not an easy decision on their part and they had to think long and hard about it, and I think some of them still feel ambivalent about participating… One of the results of… ‘In Cold Blood' is that we have a lot of sympathy for the killers, because of how Truman Capote told that story… not excusing them for what they did, but seeing them as three-dimensional human beings. ..[and] all of these films kind of celebrate the killers in a perverse way…. the family felt very violated by the experience. They felt violated by ‘In Cold Blood.’.
… Over the years there were so many fans of the book and the movie, that they’ve been approached by people wanting souvenirs, … Continued focus on this story… have all just reminded them of this tragedy. And it also reminded them that people are exploiting this tragedy for their own benefit without taking the family into consideration.
I think the most notable thing [was] the degree to which they were unhappy with the portrayal of family, particularly of the mother Bonnie Clutter, who was portrayed as somebody who was kind of depressed and didn’t get out of bed and all sorts of things they feel [are] just not true, she had some pain issues that she managed, but she embraced life and she was beloved by all the family, extended family.
As far as my understanding, there was some initial contact to get some access, and then once the book came out, there was no contact, and no attempt to rectify their feelings of the portrait being problematic… I believe there should have been a greater attempt to address their issues. The evidence demonstrates that there was no such attempt.
They’ve moved on, i think they’re all happy, positive people who are involved in their lives… but this is a shadow that has been cast over them, so I hope the show provides some closure for them… That they’ve had the chance to make peace with the past and have an opportunity to move on and know that there’s at least one documentary series out there that addresses their concerns. I hope it’s a healing experience for them to watch it.
The crime is fascinating, in 1959 in the middle of rural Kansas, a time and place where you wouldn’t even think about locking your doors, you have these two ex-cons who met in person and take a long journey by car because they heard a tip that the Clutter family had $10,000, which back then was a huge amount of money. When they got to the home, they realized there was no safe, it was a false story. And because they came away with nothing, basically $50 and a few trinkets, they still shot everyone in that family in the head with a shotgun. It was everybody’s worst nightmare.
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