The story of Christine Chubbuck, the American television news reporter who worked for WXLT-TV in Florida, has become a hot topic more than 40 years after her tragic death due to the release of “Christine,” a film directed by Antonio Campus about her life starring Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall. While those familiar with her story say the film is accurate, there are some important facts that were left out.
Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) appears tortured by her inability to form a relationship with a significant other. While the film hints that her love interest, George (Michael C. Hall), is interested in other women, they leave out the fact that he actually had a relationship with her friend Jean (Maria Dizzia).
Adding to her anxiety, Chubbuck had a shortened time to conceive. The film makes no mention that at 29 years old, she had a cyst on her ovaries that needed to be removed. Chubbuck had the surgery and was given two to three years to conceive naturally. She lamented to her co-workers that she was going to be a 30-year-old virgin.
But there was a far bigger bombshell. Chubbuck didn’t mean to commit suicide, just attempt it. The film uses the exact words she said before she placed a revolver under her ear. “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living color, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide,” she read.
However, the film shares the news update she wrote about her suicide attempt. Mike Simmons, her boss, told The Dallas Morning News at the time: "She had written something like 'TV 40 news personality Christine Chubbuck shot herself in a live broadcast this morning on a Channel 40 talk program. She was rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where she remains in critical condition.'"
Though she accurately predicted what hospital she would be taken to, she did not predict her death. She died July 16, 1974, a day after the live shooting.
The whereabouts of the suicide video have been disputed, but there are multiple reports that claim it still exists.It's location, however, is unknown. Mollie Nelson, the widow of Robert Nelson, who owned Chubbuck's news station, told Vulture her husband kept the video. She reportedly gave it to an unnamed “very large law firm” for safe keeping, she told the publication in June.
Rebecca Hall said it would be a disgrace to Chubbuck’s legacy to view the video after a screening of the film at the Kaufman Concert Hall in New York City last month.
“Christine” debuts in theaters nationwide on Friday.
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