Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct allegations that some readers may find upsetting.
The documentary-maker behind Leaving Neverland has opened up about the filming process, revealing that one heart-rending scene was added into the two-part programme at the last minute.
Dan Reed’s documentary, which aired on Channel 4 in the UK and HBO in the US earlier this year, featured in-depth interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who have accused Michael Jackson of grooming and sexual abuse – claims the late singer always denied.
Speaking to IndieWire in the light of Leaving Neverland‘s Emmy nominations, Reed explained that one scene involving Safechuck and a jewellery box was filmed “more than a year” after their first main interview.
Related: Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed reveals “one of the big questions” that his film had to answer
In the scene, James opens up a jewellery box that he alleged Jackson gave him in return for sexual favours. In the devastating scene, Safechuck claims that one item of jewellery was given to him as a “wedding ring”.
Talking through the scene’s timeline, filmmaker Reed said: “It took him a long time [to find the box]. The house was not big. He found it eventually, and we went back to the location, for continuity, and he sat down and opened this box.”
Calling the moment “incredible”, Reed continued: “It was like opening up some kind of physical memory. Literally his hands started to shake and he became short of breath, overwhelmed by feelings that washed over him from the past, the intensity of emotion when he took out the ring when he got married.”
Last month, it was announced that Leaving Neverland had been nominated for five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special.
The Jackson estate has denied the claims made in the documentary and criticised the film when it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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