Ben Stiller, director of the new Showtime series Escape At Dannemora, has been criticized and name-called by one of the characters being portrayed in the show. The show is based on a true story of two inmates who seduced the former prison worker Joyce “Tillie” Mitchell into helping them escape. Mitchell was charged with aiding in the escape of convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt back in 2015. Mitchell was interviewed by the New York Post after the release of the series. Although she had not seen it, she was told about the show by some of the guards and by her husband, Lyle, who visits her often.
In the interview, she defends herself, claiming: “I never had sex with them. Ben Stiller is a son-of-a-bitch liar, just like the rest of the world. He doesn’t care about the truth. All he cares about is making millions off me. He’s an idiot.” She had been nicknamed ‘Shawskank’ after her alleged sexual relations with the prisoners and a plan to kill her husband and escape to Mexico with them. However, Tillie seems to claim that none of the occurrences in the show had any precedence beyond Stiller’s imagination.
Stiller made his own comeback in an interview with with Deadline: “Look, that’s the story she has always told. We did a year’s worth of research on the project.” Stiller also added that “There are all sorts of things to indicate there was a relationship going on. That’s where we got that from.” He defended himself and his goals, as well, apologizing for Mitchell’s feelings towards her portrayal while explaining that his reasons were merely to show the events that took place as accurately as possible. “In terms of exploiting her; this was a story I wanted to tell in as full a way as possible and really tried to take into account the context of the world that everyone was living in,” Stiller stated blatantly. “I was just trying to tell the story in as real and hopefully as entertaining a way as possible without exploiting. I’m sorry she feels that way. It can’t be fun to be in prison and I don’t have any ill will towards her in particular.”
Regardless of what she felt about the series, Mitchell seemed remorseful concerning her part in the escape of convicted felons. “I wish I could take it all back. If I had to do it over, I would have told somebody,” Tillie told reporters. “At that point, I had to do it. I was stupid. They took advantage of my kindness.” Mitchell plans to write a book detailing the events so that “the truth will come out.”
Escape At Dannemora will wrap next week in a two-hour long event with what Stiller claims has been his most daring endeavors in filmmaking.