TV & FILM
09/13/2018 12:58 am ET

Mother Of Slain Journalist James Foley Claims ‘Viper Club’ Filmmaker Stole Her Story

Diane Foley said it was upsetting that the film, which stars Susan Sarandon, seeks to profit from a personal tragedy.

The mother of journalist James Foley, who was brutally executed by the Islamic State in 2014, has criticized the upcoming film “Viper Club” for stealing her story.

According to IMDb, the film centers on the story of a war correspondent, Andy Sterling, who is taken hostage while on assignment, prompting his mother, Helen, “impatient with the government’s lack of concern, to take matters into her own hands.” 

Diane Foley described a screening as “a very upsetting experience,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, pointing out the striking parallels between her own story and that of Helen, portrayed by Susan Sarandon. 

“She even physically resembles me,” Foley said. “What was appalling is that it was my story, almost to the tiniest detail.”

In the film, Sarandon plays a nurse (Foley is a nurse) who “discovers a clandestine community of journalists, advocates and philanthropists” who might be able to help her free her son after finding the FBI and State Department officials to be ineffective. 

Diane Foley described sitting through a screening of the film "Viper Club," which stars Susan Sarandon, as a "very upsetting
Getty Editorial
Diane Foley described sitting through a screening of the film "Viper Club," which stars Susan Sarandon, as a "very upsetting experience."

As The Washington Post reported, this happened in real life to Foley and the families of other journalists and aid workers who were kidnapped by the Islamic State. 

“Nobody has ever reached out to me,” Foley told THR. “It’s very disappointing when people steal tragedies and try to make a profit out of them, very upsetting.” 

The film’s director, Maryam Keshavarz, has said that, though the story of Foley was “among the inspirations for the film,” it was not the only one.

“We did a lot of research, read over 100 articles, saw a dozen documentaries, and [tried to] find a way to be very truthful to what these families went through … but have the freedom to weave in different themes that I was trying to examine,” she said, according to THR.

CONVERSATIONS