Donna Murphy Defends Controversial New Stone Film

Tony Award-winner Donna Murphy, who appears in the upcoming Oliver Stone film World Trade Center, has come to the defense of the controversial new movie about the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The film--which will be released on August 9th--has sparked criticism that Stone is sensationalizing the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. In a recent AP radio interview with reporter Jane Waldman, Murphy expressed her disagreement: "It's a film about what we're made of, the good stuff in people...this isn't a film with a political agenda, it's really a film about heroism, heroics that were revealed by these people who were trapped."

Murphy relates that she was able to spend time with Judy Jonas (who she plays in the film) and Jonas' husband, as well as Donna and John McLoughlin, who are two of the central characters in the movie (they are played by Maria Bello and Nicholas Cage). "...They were amazingly generous with sharing their experience, and I think wanted to know that Oliver was doing the right thing in how he was telling the story."

Murphy also stated "He (Oliver Stone) says he knew from that audition that I was the person to play this woman Judy Jonas, whose husband is a firefighter and a fire captain that was trapped in the collapse of one of the towers." Stone is a three-time Oscar-winner whose politically-charged films include Platoon, JFK and Nixon.

The film has further stirred debate with a recent warning from a union representing Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officers. The union, according to an Associated Press article, "wants ground zero rescue workers to be aware that the movie could cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of the condition include depression, mood swings and panic attacks." This week, police and firefighters were invited to free, private screenings of the film, shown at New York City multiplexes.

"Emotionally, it's important that these men and women have the opportunity to see the film first, though only if they feel comfortable," added Michael Shamberg, a co-producer of the film.

World Trade Center, which is directed by Stone and written by Andrea Berloff, will also star Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Patti D'Arbanville, Stephen Dorff and more. While the film follows the destruction of the World Trade Center and the bravery of all the rescuers, it focuses specifically on the real-life characters of McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, who were trapped in the rubble of the fallen buildings and who were two of the last survivors saved from Ground Zero. The film will be released by Paramount Pictures.

Murphy won Tony Awards for her performances in The King and I and Passion, and was also nominated for her work in Wonderful Town. She has also appeared on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Human Comedy and They're Playing Our Song, and Off-Broadway in Helen, Hello Again, Song of Singapore, Birds of Paradise and more. An accomplished film and TV actress as well, she has appeared in Spider Man 2, The Door in the Floor, Center Stage, The Astronaut's Wife and Jade, among others. She will also appear in the upcoming film The Nanny Diaries, starring Scarlett Johannsson, Paul Giamatti, and Laura Linney.

Photo--Maria Bello and Donna Murphy in World Trade Center

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