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Director Ursula Macfarlane on Telling the True Story of Anna Nicole Smith

Director Ursula Macfarlane on Telling the True Story of Anna Nicole Smith

The director of Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me tells Advocate Now how she captured the true story of a tragic figure.

Director Ursula Macfarlane is shining a new light on the woman who captured America's hearts as she sets out to tell the real story of Anna Nicole Smith.

Model Anna Nicole passed away in 2007 from a drug overdose just five months after giving birth to her daughter. Now, her story is returning to the screen in the new Netflix documentary, Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me. The film dives into several tragedies, from Anna Nicole's son passing away, to her struggle with drug addiction, and her own eventual passing.

'Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me' Director Ursula Macfarlane 

"Anna Nicole deserved so much more than the sort of cartoonish character that she's been painted over the years," she tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "And when I started digging into this, I just realized there's so much more to her story and so much more to her as a person as a human being.

Macfarlane says that because she "came of age" and forged her career at "the height of the tabloid 24 hour media cycle," Anna Nicole was scrutinized and put "under the spotlight." While women may feel more capable of speaking out against poor treatment today, Macfarlane believes some things haven't changed.

"I would like to think that things are a bit different in the sort of post-MeToo age. But as we all know, many things have not changed. I would like to think you couldn't go on a talk show and be asked such crude questions these days," she says. "Unfortunately for [Anna Nicole], that was a really difficult time for her to to come of age."

Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me | Official Trailer

Macfarlane hopes that the documentary will humanize Anna Nicole in a way that existing media hasn't always permitted. She wants audiences to come in and leave with "no judgement," but rather empathy.

She says: "I just I really want them to have more empathy for her. I think she's the woman who was so judged during her lifetime. Yes, she was flawed. And she's complicated because she's a human being like everybody else. But I also think she was a wonderful friend and a mother, and I'd like people to come away with with empathy, no judgments, see her for who she was in all her wonderful complexity."

For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

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