Family Threatens Oscar-Qualifying Run Of Movie Based On Robert Durst Scandal

EXCLUSIVE: Attorneys representing the Gotham-based real estate clan The Durst Organization are threatening to sue over the December release of All Good Things. The Andrew Jarecki-directed drama in thinly veiled fashion tells the story of Robert Durst, who was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife and the murders of two other people. I’ve learned that New York-based attorney Richard Emery, representing the Durst Organization and Seymour Durst’s other son Douglas, has been sending letters threatening legal action to distributor Magnolia Pictures, Jarecki, his CAA reps, and others involved past and present. Those letters are trying to stop the pic’s release in December for a qualifying Oscar run. In a letter sent on September 8 to Magnolia Pictures head Eamonn Bowles, obtained by me, Emery wrote:

“It is currently our plan to sue Mr. Jarecki and Magnolia if you distribute this film. It appears that the current version of the film defames the Durst and the Durst Organization. We will file the action after the film has been released and run its course, so that our lawsuit will not aid the film’s promotion. We recognize that it is very unlikely that any court will  grant a prior restraint enjoining the release of the film. The consequence will be that our lawsuit will not be settled because the harm to the Durst will have been inflicted by release of the film. We will have no choice but to proceed through full discovery, trial and all available appeals, if only because Mr. Jarecki and Magnloia and its insurers will not be able to compensate the Durst and The Durst Family Organization sufficiently to undo the damage. We believe that it is incumbent upon you to convey to any potential insurer that the lawsuit described above, with the goals described, will be filed by The Durst Organization…

“The Dursts and the DO are pained and concerned by the film’s false depiction of their family and their family-owned company as criminal collaborators in the prostitution and drug rings that plagued Time Square in the 1970s… Seymour Durst prided himself on his creative and legally ground-breaking role as an advocate for change in Times Square, and vigorously opposed the old status quo that had permitted crime to flourish in the area. To see a long record of hard work and civic accomplishment so casually maligned in the film is simply intolerable for the family.””

Similar missives were sent directly to Jarecki, who claimed he attempted to get cooperation from Robert Durst but was rebuffed, as well as to his agents at CAA. Ryan Gosling plays David Marks (aka Robert Durst), Kirsten Dunst plays Katie (based on Durst’s wife Kathie McCormack, whose body was never found) and Frank Langella plays real estate magnate Sanford Marks,
a character modeled after Durst Organization patriarch Seymour Durst. The character David Marks is depicted as an uneasy guy traumatized by the suicide death of his mother. After marrying Katie, David Marks seems on the verge of finding happiness when they open a Vermont health food store called All Good Things, hence the movie’s title. But after he’s coaxed by his real estate magnate father to return to NYC and enter the family’s commercial real estate business, David disintegrates into a regular Norman Bates-caliber creep who talks to himself and becomes increasingly abusive to his wife. Before she can file for divorce, she disappears in 1982. The movie strongly suggests that Gosling’s character is responsible for her demise. After he bolts for Texas, he hides out by dressing as a woman and pretending to be mute. The film infers that he also was involved in the killing of a friend (who tried to get money out of him to keep his secrets) and a neighborr who made the same mistake.

The actual Robert Durst was never tried for the disappearance of his wife or his friend. But he was tried for the  murder of his neighbor, Morris Black, whose remains were discovered floating in Galveston Bay. Durst admitted to cutting up the body with a hacksaw and paring knife, but claimed it was in self defense. The Texas jury acquitted him of murder but found him guilty of illegally disposing of a body. He served nine months of a five year sentence. According to reports, Robert Durst agreed to cut all ties to the Durst family trusts in exchange for $65 million.

Jarecki, who made a fortune as co-founder/CEO of Moviefone when the service was sold to AOL, makes his scripted directing debut on All Good Things. He previously directed the Sundance prize-winning and controversial documentary Capturing the Friedmans. There is little complaint over the depiction of Robert Durst in the legal letters that first came to Jarecki from the Durst Organization attorney. Nor are the murders really addressed. Instead, the attorney objects to the film’s depiction of the fictional real estate family’s role in the 42nd Street squalor as a porn/prostitution center and subsequent clean-up.

Right now, insiders tell me the film will be released as planned — platformed on December 3 in New York and opening the following week in Los Angeles to qualify for Oscars. It will then add theaters starting December 17 and into January. It’s been very difficult to gain injunctions against film releases, unless there is a rights clearance issue (The Dukes of Hazzard, Watchmen). The fact that Seymour Durst died in 1995 adds a level of complexity, since the deceased can’t be libeled. But the letters say The Durst Organization will claim corporate defamation.

  1. Yeah, it’s pretty bad. I heard that the last reel shows Sy Durst jay-walking, as well as driving five miles above the speed limit on the New York State Thruway.

  2. Wow Durst Family, have you not been paying attention to how the media works?

    Merits of the case aside, lawsuits etc…will only amount to free publicity for the film and draw more eyeballs and attention to this thing. You will not be able to lock this film in a vault and throw away the key; it will get seen. By screaming and protesting and lawyering up you are doing the work of the film’s publicists for them.

    1. Actually, I think what they’re saying is that they want the film to be released so that there is no more appropriate judgment than to award monetary damages.

      I also read it as saying that they will do so once the film has played out its theatrical run so as to not draw up publicity that would contribute to box office revenue.

      However, whoever leaked the letter is making sure to at least get some publicity off of it.

    2. The letter addresses this point specifically by saying that the suit will not be filed until after the release has run its course.

  3. I don’t understand this article or the impending lawsuit…what exactly are they hoping to achieve? Other than perhaps distancing themselves from Robert Durst who hacked up a woman and dumped the body in the Galveston Bay for which he was given some months in prison and 65 million.


    1. You may have a point on that one, unfortunately! Like some of the other responses, I too have never heard of this case but can’t wait to see the movie now! It sounds like a fascinating portrayal of the uber-rich gone bats*it insane. I’m dying to find out how a Texas jury was logically content with Durst’s defense about dismembering a body in self-defense!!! I must have read it wrong?!!! I mean, really . . . Quick, I need to find more information on this real-life case!

  4. Honestly, the family plans to sue!?! if it’s about honor, guess what Roberts twisty tie mind has already destroyed his reputation & had no honor to begin with. Boo whoo the poor rich family whose Serial killing Kin shouldve been locked up years ago 30+++ then there wouldn’t be a movie! I have no sympathy for them!! if I committed any if these crimes or my brothers we wouldve never been released and would have been convicted and the key thrown away. Just goes to show you $money$ can’t buy you happiness,……but it can sure buy: people, judges and leave you free to jet set & do some serial killing as a hobby!
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  5. I’ve been looking into this disturbing story after watching the film this evening. It’s a good film, well acted, and constructed. Damning portrayal of power and psychopathy run amok, literally!
    I hadn’t heard of the Durst story until now. The actors and story line evoke strong emotions -sadness , disgust, frustration , hopelessness.
    I inferred from the film that Westchester DA was “convinced”to give up on the case by political(read $$$)pressures from influential parties. I’m not surprised the Durst Co. wants to sue. One benefit of a trial is that more facts and sources can be brought to light. As one says”don’t ask a question you’re unprepared to hear answered”.

  6. Wonder who killed Ronni Chasen, she promotes films for Oscars. All Good Things is said to be up for the Oscars?


  7. Wow. Great movie. Very strange he only got 9 months for dismembering a body. That doesn’t make sence. How does that become sf defense. Scary

  8. I’m reading the book about the case right now it’s very interesting! It’s called “Without A Trace” by Marion Collins. Now can’t wait to see the movie!!

  9. Now that every1 knows who, and what this guy is, surly some1 will do the decent thing and k##l him. He may do it again someday, and will walk free “again”, its the only way for justice. I hope him and his very expensive well-known defense attorney Dick DeGuerin can’t sleep at night…………some1 out there…….please

  10. What a absolutely amazing movie.the director couldn’t have created a more suspense inspired nerve tingling psychological. I hardly ever get on a blog to write about somthing but this is a movie that needs to be seen…

  11. I just read the book WITHOUT A TRACE by marion collins and it’s very very interesting it sickend me at times and it seems everything in it is documented and all about Kathie, Robert or Bobbie and all the family stuff . I want to watch the movie but I don’t know if I’m up for more suspense.

  12. I found this film fascinating. And yes. I am in the Real Estate business and have never heard of this story before. Real Estate wealth is not much different than other kinds. My heart does go out for a family in deep dispair and mental illness. Money doesn not buy sanity. And in some cases contributes to insanity. He seemed happy at the Health Food Store???? GREAT FILM, FASCINTING STORY. And to the Durst Family- you should look at this as a way to heal the shame and pain. It doesn’t change what happened.

  13. I am appalled by the justice system, WOW, this guy first kills his wife then orders killing of the witness then chops up the man who did it and then he walks free, are you kidding me? Just makes me sick down to my stomach that how money and a Dream Team lawyers can get away with murder.

  14. Just finished reading “A Deadly Secret” by Matt Birkbeck written in 2002 and it is very upsetting how the police departments cannot seem to follow through on so many important facts and that they all seem to believe Robert Durst is a killer but cannot prove it.

  15. We might be living on the ass end of the word here in South Africa but i’m proud to say not even with the scandalous corruptions we have to deal with here will any person walk free and be able to get a way with murder….it is just mind boggling and shameful to see that a country like the USA could allow murderers walk free…

    1. Dylan Olivier, you’ve got to be kidding me right. South Africa is a cesspool with numerous unsolved murders. It’s really not the utopia you seem to think that it is.

  16. Great movie but incomprehensible that David should walk free after obviously killing his wife. The justice system in the USA is somehow flawed.

  17. Just watched the movie twice and have been researching on the internet and came to this site. I knew DeGeurin years ago….he only takes guilty clients! As for the Durst bunch, there IS a real, living God in Heaven. Much as we brush Him off, He will catch up with everyone. As for the movie, excellent and disturbing. Gosling is a talent.

  18. Watched the movie last night….BRILLIANT…(& I’ve watched a lot of true story suspense crime films)…Kirsten Dunst deserves an oscar for her role…can’t believe “All Good Things”, didn’t get the publicity, praise & ackowledgement it deserves on SO MANY levels..STRANGE…
    nothing but admiration & respect for director, Andrew Jarecki, for having the courage to expose the disturbing corruption of the system….will be telling everyone about it…& will be finding out as much as I can about this case & hoping that Robert Durst is finally bought to justice.

  19. Good movie! but.. Sad! I can not believe that Kathie Durst did not recieve and justice! And this man is living in Flordia and not in prison where he should be! Its just sad and my heart goes out to her family.

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