Monday, March 20, 2023

The chilling murder of director and actress Adrienne Shelley, who rose to fame after her death

“When I enter this house I don’t feel like it’s the same as ever, it still seems to have that bad presence, it’s horrible,” the producer said. Andy Ostroy, husband of actress and director Adrienne Shelley, When he re-entered his home decades ago, where he lived until October 30, 2006, with his wife and young daughter, Sophie, who celebrated her third birthday before the tragedy. On November 1, just hours after the festivities, Ostroy unsuccessfully tried to contact his wife and moved into the family’s apartment, worried. There, he found the worst image ever: Adrienne in the bathroom, hanging from a sheet. Police and the media confirmed it was a suicide and the case was quickly closed, until Ostroy’s insistence and the appearance of new evidence turned the investigation upside down.

in the documentary hbo max, Adrienne, Directed by the artist’s own husband, the focus is not only on the final moments of her life, but also on how Shelly was an accomplished artist, who enjoyed being a part of the undercurrent, and whose memorable creative association with the filmmaker There was cooperation. hal hartley He pitched it as the new promise of cinema indie When one works by a filmmaker such as unbelievable truth and unforgettable Confidence, In Adrienne finds a perfect actress. Hartley always knew this and took advantage of both her facets as a comedian and a certain vulnerability to push her out of the pretty lady space that she carried with her.

“For a long time, she feared death—reveals her husband in the documentary—. At least, since the death of her father, something she couldn’t do.” Those who knew Adrienne, who in the New York of the 90s sought to collaborate not only with directors indie But eventually becoming a respected filmmaker himself, he says his dazzling presence made it impossible not to be around him. However, also He was carrying the weight of pain over the death of his father. “She was looking for answers to what happened, she didn’t understand why all of a sudden she wasn’t with us,” explained her mother, Elaine.

Adrienne Shelley In Her Film Waitress, Which Became A Famous Broadway Play
Adrienne Shelley in her film Waitress, which became a famous Broadway play

Sheldon Levine died in his sleep when Adrienne was young, and as a way of honoring him, he used his father’s name as his last name. Adrienne Levine became Adrienne Shelley, as she used to call this man who left a huge void in her life, but also had a motto: Enjoy every moment, don’t waste it. In an industry that wasn’t used to seeing women-led stories — much less directed by them — Adrienne, who was part of the Brent Hammer film, Complete Near Matt Dillon, based on the work of Charles Bukowski, I knew I had to get back in the game as a filmmaker. In 1996 he directed the comedy suddenly manhattan, But some satirical criticism forced him to reconsider his work. “In the documentary, her husband says that some malicious comments had affected her—but then she remembered why she chose her career and moved on”. Shelly loved New York, she loved hanging out with co-workers, shooting on a lavish budget, throwing something into the world, regardless of the outcome.

in a wonderful way Adrienne, The actress and director herself explains, in a video saved by her husband, what the cinematographic scene was like at the time, where the figure Harvey WeinsteinWhich upset her on a shoot: “There’s no place for women, sometimes I think there is and then I see something that changes my mind, so I hope someday I’ll be like that.” I can tell stories that represent us.” Describing his wish, his huge smile showed what he was conceiving. after his feature film I’ll take you there Shelly devoted herself to a script she had been polishing for a long time: she Waitress.

When filming began, she no longer had any doubts about what she wanted for her future, and her posthumous work reflects a feminist discourse that is sweetly, even rife, by naivety. The role of Jenna Hunterson was played to perfection by Keri Russell, which represents a pregnant woman who lives with an abusive husband and who falls in love with the city doctor. Otherwise too, Waitress It’s not a love triangle story, it’s a standout portrait of the path to motherhood with all its ups and downs, and the importance of friendship in a world without certainty (the director’s secondary performance goes along that track).

“Adrienne was very proud of the film. Her dream was to be selected for the Sundance Festival,” her husband recalled on one occasion. In that place, long ago, Hartley was nominated for a jury award. unbelievable truth, And Shelly felt it was the ideal place to display her work. One day the letter arrived. Waitress It was to be screened at the festival on January 21, 2007. The director’s spirit led him to celebrate with his friends, including actor Paul Rudd and actress Cheryl Hines, who were also in the film’s cast. And to prepare for the moment she’d been waiting since she told her parents at age 10 that she wanted to perform at Stagedoor Manor on Long Island. Unfortunately, hours after celebrating Halloween and her daughter’s birthday, Adrienne crosses paths with 19-year-old Diego Pilco, who murdered her in the study of her apartment in the West Village neighborhood.

Keri Russell, Andy Ostroy And Cheryl Hines At The Adrienne Shelley Foundation Gala
Keri Russell, Andy Ostroy and Cheryl Hines at the Adrienne Shelley Foundation GalaGemal Countess – WireImage

When Ostroy testified to the police and explained that his wife decided never to take her own life, An autopsy was ordered which should have been done long ago. Its result confirmed Shelly’s family hypothesis: At age 40, she was strangled in her office. Soon, they learn of the murder, Diego Pilco, a builder who was working on the building, and who confessed to killing Adrienne because he found her breaking into his apartment. He then took her to the bathroom, where he attempted to treat the murder as a suicide. That setup initially confused investigators, until evidence and Pilko’s subsequent statement proved that Adrienne had been murdered. In 2008, the young man was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Because Ostroy did not want to be with the final image of his screaming wife, he decided to go to Pilko and record the encounter in prison for his documentary. It’s a heartbreaking moment from her job, as the man explains what he did to Shelley, while Ostroy can’t stop crying. “I wanted you to see that you have taken a mother from your daughter, a daughter from her mother, and a wife from someone who loves her dearly,” the producer tells the killer, who without hesitation leaves the scene.

Adrienne, The documentary that Ostroy made as a tribute to Shelley doesn’t end with that episode, but in any case it’s impossible not to feel the same impotence as the husband of an artist who had so much to offer. as evidence, We see him walking around New York, walking to Broadway, where he was showing Waitress, The hit musical based on the film Shelly, with lyrics by Sara Bareilles, which was nominated for four Tony Awards, The man talks to the people who bought tickets to see the play and tells them who wrote the original story, as a way of keeping his wife’s name alive to ensure that his legacy is not lost. Not long ago, when the film premiered at Sundance, the presentation was lovely. “I think we were all crying at the time, thinking about how much Adrienne would love to be there,” a friend of hers said.

In memory of his wife, Ostroy created the Adrienne Shelley Foundation, which provides scholarships to female directors, such as Oscar winner Cynthia Wade and Chloe Zhao. “In this industry, it’s the animals who are in charge,” Shelley said of her experience crossing over with Weinstein, who produced Incredible truth. In filming, he asked Hal Hartley to include more erotic scenes of Adrienne, which the director refused at first, causing controversy. Adrienne was on her way to fight the beasts until one of them ended her life. “She was a warm person, with immense inner beauty and infectious energy,” is how her husband extolled her and described her in a way to his daughter, who has little memory of her. To feel closer to her mother, she reads her diary and follows in her footsteps: Sophie also finds that art is her calling.

Adrienne, By Andy Ostroy, available on HBO Max.

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