Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga and Evan Rachel Wood have signed on to star in Facing the Wind, the first narrative crime drama from celebrated documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills).
The plot is based on the best-selling book of the same name by New York Times reporter Julie Salomon, which tells the true story of Bob Rowe (Alessandro Nivola), a seemingly ordinary family man whose psyche begins to unravel, leading him to kill his entire family. Rowe's 1978 case was one of the first successful uses of the insanity plea, although this historic case has never been featured in a movie before.
Vera Farmiga is playing Rowe's first wife, Mary, with Evan Rachel Wood playing his second wife Colleen whom he tries to start a new life with after avoiding a prison sentence. Rita Wilson and Jennifer Beals also star in unspecified supporting roles.
Richard Stratton wrote the script, which centers on the present-day interrogation of Colleen, with the murders depicted through flashbacks. The story reportedly shifts between a "voyeuristic examination" of the crime, to showing Rowe's path to redemption by showing Colleen's emotional journey,
Joe Berlinger is also producing with Elizabeth Fowler, who collaborated with the director on his West Memphis Three documentaries Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, which helped secure the successful release of the falsely-accused murderers. Here's what the director had to say in a statement about this new project.
"My documentary work is known for transcending sensational subjects to tell compelling human dramas that raise many complex questions about human relationships and behavior. I am so honored to collaborate with this exciting cast who will excel at creating a multi-layered feature film that tackles age-old questions of guilt and redemption, retribution and forgiveness in a fresh and dramatically compelling manner."
Production will begin later this year in New York City on a $5 million budget. Fabrication Films will be selling the project at the Cannes Film Festival this month.