Production is underway on a feature-length documentary about Natalie Wood, which will explore the late actress’ life and career through the perspective of her daughter and other family members, friends and co-stars, HBO announced Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to working with HBO, Amblin Television and our director, Laurent Bouzereau, to create this unprecedented portrait of a woman who was an actress, a legend and ultimately, my mother,” said Natasha Gregson Wagner.
The 48-year-old actress, whose father, British producer/writer/agent Richard Gregson, was married to Wood from 1969-1972, is co-producing the film with Manoah Bowman, author of “Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life.”
Titled “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind,” the documentary “will feature previously unseen home movies, photographs, diaries, letters and artifacts, as well as interviews with her friends, family, co-stars and colleagues,” according to a statement released by HBO. “The film will re-examine her personal and professional triumphs and challenges, which have often been overshadowed by her tragic death at age 43.”
The documentary will debut on the cable network in 2020.
Wood was reported missing from the Splendour, a 60-foot yacht, at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 29, 1981, off Santa Catalina Island. The next day, the three-time Academy Award nominee was found floating in the water.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said they had received little new information into Wood’s death since re-opening the investigation in 2011, and still want to talk to her then-husband, Robert Wagner. The now-88-year-old actor is thought to be the last person to see her alive.
During a news conference in February at sheriff’s headquarters, Lt. John Corina said the department was giving the case one “last shot” to see if any other witnesses would come forward. He said the original detectives on the case spoke with Wagner about the circumstances surrounding Wood’s death only once, in 1981, but Wagner has refused further discussions.
After a two-week investigation, Wood’s death was ruled an accident in 1981. In 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office amended the death certificate, changing the manner of death from an accidental drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors.”
Corina said that immediately following a 2011 news conference announcing the reopening of the case, more than 100 people came forward to “tell us what they knew.” He said the additional information, chiefly from other boaters who heard Wood and Wager arguing, “helped us recreate the timeline right up until Natalie Wood goes into the water.” He said one frequently repeated theory — that Wood fell into the water after boarding or trying to free a dinghy that was tied to the yacht — doesn’t hold up.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Ralph Hernandez told “48 Hours” that the inveestigators “have not been able to prove this was a homicide. And we haven’t been able to prove that this was an accident, either. …The ultimate problem is we don’t know how she ended up in the water.”
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