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Guest Post: The Woman Who Wasn't There - A True Story

Women and Hollywood By Amy Rapp | Women and Hollywood April 16, 2012 at 11:30AM

Almost everyone has a 9/11 story.  They can describe where they were when the planes hit, when the towers collapsed, the days following.  I have one.  I was there.  I watched the second tower collapse standing on Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan.
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When Angelo brought us this story, I was hooked.  To me it wasn’t a 9/11 film but a character-driven, psychological suspense thriller.  It had themes of friendship, ambition, betrayal, deception.  It touched upon the philosophical – if you do something bad but have good intentions, does that absolve you?  Should you be punished or heralded?  The answer is actually pretty clear-cut.  You’re punished.  But perhaps punished with an asterisk.

I’m often drawn to characters who live in the grey area of morality and I have found myself consistently attracted to characters like Tania.  Some on TV like Walter White who becomes a meth manufacturer in order to leave a nest egg for his family before he dies.  Love it.  Dexter Morgan.  Kills people who’ve killed others.  I’m in (save for last season).  Sydney Bristow.  Lies to her closest friends about everything in her life because she’s an undercover CIA operative.  Sign me up.  In each case, part of the hook is anticipating how their loved ones will react if/when they find out the truth about the person they thought they knew.  I’ve pictured myself in that position.  Could I reconcile all the lies?  Could I forgive? 

Tania Head created a false identity to ingratiate herself into a community and did monumental, life-saving work that gave hope and strength to people who were struggling to recover from a debilitating trauma.  As a character, Tania Head might be categorized as an anti-hero like Walter White and Dexter Morgan.  And, in fact, “Tania Head” is a fictional character.  But she wasn’t to the people who knew her, who loved her, who, they thought, were loved by her.  How do they reconcile that?  Can they forgive?

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Amy Rapp runs Meredith Vieira Productions and is the producer of the documentary THE WOMAN WHO WASN’T THERE, which premieres on April 17, 2012 at 8pm on Investigation Discovery, presented by ID Films, and is currently playing at Quad Cinema in New York and Laemmle NoHo 7 in Los Angeles.

This article is related to: Television, Documentary, Meredith Vieira, TV Features


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