On August 2, 2006, Robert Wone, a married 32-year-old lawyer, decides to spend the evening at his associates’ home in Washington D.C. Shortly thereafter, one of many associates calls 911 saying Wone has been stabbed to dying. What occurred throughout that 79-minute timeframe in the home? Who murdered Wone?
In tackling a case with extra questions than solutions, director Jared P. Scott (Requiem for the American Dream) examines the homicide and searches for the reality within the Peacock docuseries Who Killed Robert Wone? By way of interviews with associates, household, and investigators, Scott units out to search out solutions in a Clue-like homicide thriller. Because the collection dives additional into the case, Scott discovers the identical challenges that puzzled investigators over 15 years in the past.
In an interview with Digital Tendencies, Scott discusses what drew him to the case, the right way to steadiness info with leisure, and the way the collection sheds gentle on a heartbreaking tragedy.
Notice: This interview has been edited for size and readability.
Digital Tendencies: What drew you to the Robert Wone case?
Jared P. Scott: You understand, I can’t say that I’m a real crime fan. I like a great story. This occurs to be a real crime, and it occurs to be an interesting story. It’s a type of tales that you would begin telling on the bar. I consider Looking for Sugar Man, the place you don’t even need to make a present about it. You possibly can simply begin speaking to anyone about this, and one’s jaw slowly begins dropping.
Right here you could have Robert Wone, a 32-year-old distinguished lawyer, a promising younger man, [who] decides to spend the evening with three associates. Seventy-nine minutes after arriving at his associates’ home, a type of associates calls 911 saying he’s been stabbed. Then from there, the EMTs arrive, and so they describe this odd conduct. The detectives arrive, and one of many first stuff you hear is that these three guys are in white robes. Because the prosecutor describes it, “It seems to be like they’ve simply stepped out of an govt steam. They received their hair slicked again.”
So this imaginative and prescient of three guys in a home with white robes, proper there, the intrigue is there. The stage is about, and it’s this Clue-like thriller. You had 4 individuals in the home that evening. One individual finally ends up useless after 79 minutes, and the opposite three are saying, “Not me.” It’s a traditional black field thriller.
I believe all people loves a homicide thriller, in order that drove me to it. I believe the opposite facet of that coin can also be to hunt reality and justice for Robert Wone. Most of my movies have been about injustice, about inequality. The concept of attempting to carry anyone accountable for this tragic dying is vital. That’s a part of our cost on this style. Sure, we entertain, however we additionally search to attempt to make clear one thing, deliver this to a nationwide or world scale the place somebody would possibly come ahead and provides us a tip, give us a clue, [and] assist us work out what might have occurred that evening.
You speak concerning the true crime style and the way you’re not significantly a fan of it, however as I’m positive you realize, the style has seen a resurgence in reputation lately with numerous exhibits and flicks. How do you assume your docuseries differs from all the others on the market?
That’s a great query. I need to add one correction. It’s not that I’m not a fan. It’s simply I’m not a die-hard. Once more, I identical to good tales, and I believe it is a nice story. I believe that we informed it properly. We went to nice lengths to search out steadiness. We went to nice lengths to strive to not overspeculate. This case is [filled with] wild hypothesis. We actually needed to rein ourselves in as a result of, once more, nobody is aware of what occurred throughout these 79 minutes in addition to the three guys [who] have been there, and all now we have on file are their interrogations the evening of [the death].
Actually, it’s all hypothesis, so I believe there was some humility there. We needed to be disciplined and considerate and do proper. We needed to do our due diligence, and I believe we did that properly. We went to nice lengths to not attempt to revictimize Robert. Once more, it’s a loopy story. It’s a baffling story. It’s a stranger than fiction story. That’s a part of the attraction. However we tried to not . . . it wasn’t salacious simply to be salacious. It wasn’t that we have been attempting to dig into something and overhype it. In a narrative like this, you don’t need to. It’s loopy sufficient by itself.
You really could be very sober as a storyteller as a result of no embellishment is required. It’s only a wild trip, anyway. I believe that we needed to ensure that we stroll that line in a considerate method. However I do assume it’s a extra entertaining true crime than so much I’ve seen. Oftentimes, individuals simply make them as a result of individuals watch the style, however I believe that is only a good story. Whether or not you’re a fan of the true crime style or whether or not you identical to good tales, it’s price watching.
You answered my subsequent query, which is the way you straddle the road between making one thing that’s informative and true to the info, but additionally accessible and engrossing. I believe this is among the most cinematic true crime collection I’ve seen, and I believe it’s very respectful of the topic.
I respect that, Jason. I’m glad that I used to be capable of guess your subsequent query. I’m going to do this proper now, too. Luke Geissbuhler, who’s the [director of photography] on this (he was additionally the DP on the Borat movies), has accomplished plenty of nice stuff. There’s a sure integrity that we needed to deliver to this piece. After all, we wish it to be cinematic.
We’re finally taking all these totally different items, proper? You’ve crime scene pictures. You’ve main supply paperwork with the affidavit. You’ve recreations. You’ve interviews. You’ve different photos. I all the time need to attempt to make these cohesive. It doesn’t need to really feel like a mishmash of items. The docuseries has to really feel like a really cohesive, deliberate, thought of mosaic, and I believe we have been capable of seize that. Once more, we have been capable of lean into the themes of this unimaginable puzzle. There’s all the time one thing lacking. Issues aren’t including up. Issues aren’t what they appear, and you’ll see that threaded all through the graphics.
You’re solely nearly as good as the weather you could have. You’re solely nearly as good because the story you could have, and you must maximize all that. I believe our “characters” have been nice. They’re likable. They’re considerate. They’re insightful. Robert’s associates are heartwarming. There’s a lot empathy there too. There’s additionally some levity whenever you want it. Everybody must snort generally in a thriller. Craig [Brownstein] and David [Greer], our bloggers, deliver that. Typically, you must snort simply to ease the stress or help within the rigidity.
I believe all that provides to that cinematic really feel. It’s not simply what comes out of the digicam. Additionally, Tyler Strickland did the music, and the music is actually cinematic. I do know that phrase will get overused, however I do consider that’s the case. It’s additionally how we weave all of it collectively, [and] it’s how we glue it collectively. I respect you selecting up on that as a result of we labored laborious to make that occur. Additionally, one other good thing is we had entry to the mannequin home. It was one thing that we didn’t make for the present. That was the precise [model] home utilized by the prosecution throughout the trial.
Oh, wow. That’s superb.
Yeah. I imply the truth that it’s nonetheless round 12 years after the trial was exceptional. We really needed to come up with far more proof, however weren’t capable of. The truth that we received that, and we have been capable of shoot that in such an exquisite method, that turns into such an exquisite, visible by means of line for us to type of return to.
As a result of once more, what occurred in these 79 minutes in that home? At first, you are feeling like that is likely to be constricting as a storyteller. It’s not like this occurred in a cabin within the woods, and you’ll shoot these nice Ozark sorts of landscapes. It’s a small row home in Washington D.C. We needed to lean into that, and I believe we have been capable of make that small side, that tight side, really feel huge and really feel mysterious.
In making the docuseries, what was probably the most stunning factor you found concerning the case?
That’s a troublesome query as a result of there are such a lot of stunning issues, however I’ve sieved by means of it a lot, and I’ve lived and breathed it, that perhaps nothing was stunning to me. It’s all been type of alchemized now within the story. One of many issues that offers me pause is among the issues our interviewees, Craig and David, stated. They posed the idea that perhaps the entire sexual assault piece is only a MacGuffin. Possibly that by no means [happened]. In the end, that by no means made it to trial, however perhaps that was simply one thing to distract us [from the real motive].
The concept one thing as baffling and as complicated as “was Robert sexually assaulted that evening or not,” the viewers will work out. They’ll go on a journey with DNA being discovered and reexamined. There are some stunning discoveries there, however did any of that matter? Is that simply one thing to take our consideration away from one thing else? I don’t know. Possibly [it’s] the thought of we don’t know what issues, we don’t know what’s trivial, and we don’t know what’s vital.
The stunning factor is there was by no means any smoking gun. There’s by no means something we might actually sink our tooth into, so you must have a look at all this stuff equally, all these clues. I believe that’s maddening as a result of there are such a lot of of them. Yeah, I don’t know. What if a few of these issues are to distract us? I believe that occurs in storytelling, and perhaps one way or the other, that occurred in our story. What if a few of these items that the viewers sees are to divert their consideration from what actually occurred, which we nonetheless don’t know?
Was there anyone you needed to interview for the collection that you just couldn’t? And why?
Certain. We might have beloved to have sat down with Robert’s spouse, but it surely’s been 16 years. She’s moved on. Once more, from every thing I’ve heard from the folks that know her, from the prosecutor and the investigators, she’s a personal individual. She doesn’t need to relive this story, and I perceive that. I respect that. After all, we’d have beloved to have the guts and soul of Kathy Wone, however we additionally need to watch out on this style that we don’t revictimize the individuals in our tales. That we don’t make everybody shattered by the story retraumatize it.
I hope that’s not the case as a result of, once more, the thought is that this story will get some traction and sufficient individuals hear about it and see it, [so] anyone comes ahead. You employ this as a software for a bigger quest for justice. Spoiler alert, however nobody’s been tried for the homicide of Robert Wone. Expenses have been introduced in opposition to individuals, and folks have been exonerated of these fees, however nobody has been charged within the homicide of Robert Wone. That is nonetheless an open case.
That’s superb to me. I knew nothing about this case. It was a curler coaster trip. I do know that sounds actually trite, but it surely felt like I used to be going up and down, up and down. You assume you discovered the reply, and it’s like, “Nope, that’s not it.” It’s important to transfer on as a result of the investigators have to maneuver on. There are such a lot of useless ends. It’s enthralling and irritating on the similar time.
Oh, yeah, completely. It’s irritating to place that collectively, too. To attempt to lead an viewers down a path after which have them hit a useless finish, it’s tough. The story could be very round, and I believe we nonetheless needed to inform a narrative with a story arc. A part of the best way you would possibly converse concerning the story is sort of totally different than the way you would possibly expertise it within the present. However I respect that.
It’s not trite. It’s true. There are such a lot of twists and turns. I had the identical feeling, and I believe most individuals will. It’s like, “How did we not know concerning the story? How was this not a nationwide story?” One of many pundits says within the present that this was a homicide case, but it surely’s not a homicide trial. Possibly that was it. Possibly, if it was a homicide trial, I don’t know. It’s a type of issues the place going again to your first query, how did I by no means hear about this? And after I heard about it, God, everybody ought to find out about this. It’s a type of issues the place as soon as you realize about it, you query why you by no means did. You need to hold speaking about it.
Who Killed Robert Wone? is now streaming on Peacock.