As pointed out in a recent story about Nick Searcy, late of FX’s drama “Justified,” in the U.K. Telegraph, the veteran actor is no stranger to controversy. One might even say, he’s steady-dated controversy for years, particularly on Twitter, where the bio reads:
Peabody Award-Winning International Film and Television Star. All new followers must proceed directly to Acting School with Nick Searcy before addressing me.
Said the Telegraph:
Prompted by the 2012 death of conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart, Searcy found himself searching his soul. “Bullies on the Left, they want to call you names and categorise you and make you respond,” Searcy once said. “They want to make you say, ‘Why are you saying that? I’m not that.’ So when [Breitbart] passed away so suddenly, I just sort of had this moment where I asked myself: Why am I scared? Why am I letting these people do this to me? Now, I’m not.”
These days, using his Twitter account and “Acting School with Nick” YouTube channel, he wages war on Obama, “fat liberals”, and people who dare to tell him they won’t be watching Justified any more thanks to his Twitter feed.
But it would be wrong to dismiss Searcy as just another Right-wing wing-nut. He’s passionately anti-racist (his adopted son is black) and he has many (sort of) wise things to say about tolerance, parenting, and the importance of diet and exercise. Most of all, though, he’s pretty entertaining.
Now that “Justified” has ridden off into the sunset after six seasons, Searcy has waded into a new battlefield, as director of the independent feature film “Gosnell,” which raised its $2.3M budget entirely on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo (setting a record there). Written by Andrew Klavan, it was intended as a TV movie, but with the addition of executive producer John Sullivan (Dinesh D’Souza’s “America,” and “2016: Obama’s America”), producers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda have decided to go the feature-film route.
“Gosnell” is a dramatized retelling, based on grand-jury testimony, of the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist found guilty in February 2013 of three counts of first-degree murder for killing nearly full-term babies who were born alive after abortion attempts by slitting their necks and snipping their spinal cords.
Gosnell was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the drug-overdose death of one of his patients. In May 2015, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
The media was extremely late in covering the story at all, despite the MSM’s usual mad rush to report on anything involving gruesome killings. But then, it depends on who’s being killed, and who’s doing the killing.
In a phone conversation after the announcement, Searcy said his Facebook page was flooded with well-wishers.
“It’s really quite humbling,” he said, “to know that there are people who care about this story being told, and, so, I feel the responsibility to do it well and to to it right and try to do it justice.
“I’m sure there are people who will go ‘I don’t want anything to do with that,’ just like there are people who’ll say, ‘I don’t want anything to do with Nick Searcy.’ That’s just part of the territory.”
By all accounts, Gosnell’s clinic was an abbatoir, which, along with all of Pennsylvania’s abortion clinics, hadn’t been routinely inspected for 15 years. From Fox News:
Authorities said the clinic was a foul-smelling “house of horrors” with bags and bottles of stored fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments, and cats roaming the premises.
Asked how he’s going to tell this story without having audiences stampede from theaters in disgust — or not show up, fearing what they’ll see — Searcy said, “It’s very harrowing. It’s hard just to get through the material. And living with the story every day, because you do have to live with it, you have to decide how to tell it and change your mind, decide again.”
He adds, “There’s so many aspects of the story people just don’t know about, because it wasn’t reported. It’s hard to look at. My job is just to give the audience a way to look at it that’s not going to drive them away, that’s going to allow them to understand what went on, why it went on, and why nobody wanted to talk about it after they found out what was going on.”
Searcy also doesn’t see the story as primarily being a debate about legalized abortion.
“The fact of this case,” said Searcy, “should not drive anyone away, pro-choice or pro-life, because Gosnell was operating outside even the realm of legal abortion.”
But, I reminded him, the Pennsylvania authorities turned a blind eye to how clinics functioned, including Gosnell’s.
“Right,” Searcy said, “that’s true. And that’s one of the things about the case that needs to be told, and it needs to be public.
“The interesting thing about what happened in the case is that the prosecuting attorney, in his opening statement, said this is not a case about abortion, this is a case about a doctor exceeding legal abortions and ending the lives of live infants. Then the defense attorney got up and said, ‘This is absolutely a case about abortion,’ that what Gosnell was doing was serving a community that these elitist, racist, establishment types didn’t want to serve, and they wanted to judge him, blah, blah, blah.
“The trick with this film really is to tell the truth and not preach. I don’t think you ever change anybody’s mind by telling them how they should think about something.
“The only way that you can really change a person’s mind is by showing them something they haven’t seen before. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Images: Courtesy FX; Wikimedia Commons