The riveting tale of one-time real estate baron Robert Durst – estranged older brother of developer Douglas Durst – has been made into a feature film starring Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling. Called All Good Things, the film will debut in 2009.
Its release will mark yet another painful episode for the otherwise upstanding Durst family, which is known in New York City for its impressive property holdings (including the new One Bryant Park and the Conde Nast headquarters at 4 Times Square), its environmentally sustainable building practices, and its upstate organic farm.
Here's the synopsis of the movie, according to IMDB.com: “A detective begins to unravel a missing-persons case that looks to spell doom -- and quite possibly death -- for the heir to a New York real estate dynasty.”
Ms. Dunst will play Kathleen Durst, Robert Durst's first wife, who mysteriously disappeared in 1982, and Mr. Gosling will play Mr. Durst, according to knowledgeable sources. Ms. Durst's disappearance has never been solved, and her husband has never escaped from under the cloud of suspicion -- particularly considering the events that were to follow (see below).
Sources confirmed that the film is indeed based on the Durst family, despite earlier assertions to the contrary. In June, the movie industry blog, Hollywood Chainsaw, was reprimanded by a publicist for the film:
Amy, a publicist from “All Good Things,” (which filmed recently in New Milford and Waterbury) sent me an e-mail Monday explaining the film’s plot. She said that info previously posted on this here blog, which said the movie is based on the Robert Durst saga (obtained from the CT Film Division Web site), is incorrect.
Amy is the one who appears to have been incorrect. The next day, a little-noticed post on The New York Times City Room blog reported that the film is indeed based on the Robert Durst story:
“The movie, directed by Andrew Jarecki, is a murder mystery based on the bizarre life of the real estate heir Robert A. Durst — a troubled multimillionaire with mild autism whose existence has been marked by the unsolved disappearance of his first wife; the unsolved fatal shooting of his confidante in Los Angeles; a secret second marriage; another fatal shooting (this time paired with a grisly dismemberment); living on the cheap disguised as a woman; a nationwide manhunt that ended with a shoplifting arrest; and an acquittal for the murder dismemberment but prison time for parole violations. (Whew! Got that?)
“… Ms. Dunst plays the missing wife who was a young dental hygienist named Kathleen McCormack living in a building owned by the Durst family when she met Mr. Durst. After the two had gone on two dates, he asked her to live with him. In January 1972, she did.”
“…The scene that was shot this week is set in Times Square around 1974, when Mr. Durst visited the Luxor Hotel. In 1977, there were nearly 100 sex-related businesses in the area; in 1987, there were 35. Now these kinds of businesses are scattered, and mostly pushed to the Eighth Avenue border.”
The film's publicist could not be reached for comment.
There’s little question that said exploits makes for a fascinating whodunit.
The cross-dressing Robert Durst riveted New York readers in the 1980s and 1990s with the mysterious – and still unsolved – disappearance of his first wife, a 29-year-old medical student; the subsequent murder of his close friend in Los Angeles; and the “self-defense” killing and then dismembering of a crotchety 71-year-old neighbor in Galveston, Texas.
The movie's title, All Good Things, comes from the name of a health food store Robert and Kathie opened in Vermont in the 1970s.
Neither Robert Durst, nor his second wife, Debrah Charatan, a commercial real estate broker who Larry Silverstein, in a 2003 New York Times article, praised as a “very accomplished [and] very hard-working broker," could be reached for comment.
The film is being produced by Groundswell Productions and Hit the Ground Running Films, and is to be distributed by The Weinstein Company, according to IMDB.