Liz Garbus interview: ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ documentary

When Liz Garbus started working on the docuseries “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” she never could have imagined that her first day of shooting would coincide with the arrest of the Golden State Killer, but that’s exactly what happened. “We all went back to our hotels that night and at six or something, I had to wake up for a flight and I saw my phone had blown up with texts and we learned really early that morning that a suspect had been arrested,” she says in our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above). Garbus adds that if Michelle McNamara were still alive, they may have had a bit of an advanced notice that the police were about to make an arrest. “If Michelle were still alive and had been tracking the case and making this documentary alongside of us, she would have had her spider sense and we would all have the heads up.”

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” currently available through HBO and HBO Max, is based on McNamara’s book of the same name. McNamara, who had written extensively about true crime, was putting the book together about her quest to find out who was the Golden State Killer, who murdered 13 people and raped 50 women between 1976 and 1986. McNamara sadly passed away from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2016. Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, along with two other crime writers helped finish the book and it was published in 2018. Two months after the book was released, police arrested Joseph DeAngelo for committing the crimes of the Golden State Killer.

As Garbus immersed herself in McNamara’s writings, she was very taken by the way McNamara wrote about these horrific crimes. “She had this extraordinary literary approach to the stories, always putting the survivors first,  always that search for answers rather than an interest in the salacious details and such a keen eye for detail and psychology.” But there was also a personal level on which Garbus related to the late writer. “I also related to her as a working mom who was balancing and she talked about it. She was Cheerio feeding the toddler by day and hunting the serial killer at night. I am a working mom and I really related to that, to those dual passions.”

Garbus also discussed the upcoming bonus episode of the series that will be premiering in June. The episode will expand on the unsolved crime that sparked McNamara’s fascination with the genre. “This white whale in Michelle’s life, this origin story of a crime of a murder of a young woman in her Oak Park neighborhood, outside of Chicago, which just always haunted her.” Garbus adds that this will be intertwined with the developments that have happened since the docuseries wrapped shooting. “Also, we wanted to update the series with the sentencing of Joseph DeAngelo so we’ve released this bonus episode, which weaves those two stories.”

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UPLOADED May 30, 2021 4:03 pm