You Don't Know Jack -- Or, Kevorkian: The Movie
Dave Reynolds of Inclusion Daily Express writes,
Think you'd heard the last of Jack Kevorkian? Think again.
Hollywood news sources confirm that Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple, film writer Barbara Turner and producer Steve Jones are teaming up to put together "You Don't Know Jack," set for release sometime in 2006.
The movie is based on the unpublished yet authorized book about the convicted murderer's life, written by Kevorkian's assistant of 25 years, Neal Nicol, and his life-long friend, Harry Wylie.
By his own admission, the 77-year old Kevorkian assisted at least 130 people to kill themselves as part of his campaign to make doctor-assisted suicide legal in the United States. Kevorkian was convicted in March 1999 for inducing the death of Thomas Youk, a man who had amyotropic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. His conviction for second-degree murder came after replaying Youk's videotaped death on the "60 Minutes" television news magazine.
Kevorkian, labeled "Dr. Death" by the media, is currently serving the seventh year of a 15- to 25-year prison sentence.
"The film will examine the fascinating life of man who is a household name, yet no one knows his actual story," Jones told Reuters. "It's not a film about euthanasia but instead a look at a passionate man who spent his entire life fighting for rights he believes that every human should have."
A study published in the December 2000 New England Journal of Medicine revealed some of the "actual story" behind Kevorkian's passionate campaign. An analysis of data from the Oakland County medical examiner's office showed that only 25 percent of those Kevorkian assisted there had terminal illnesses and only 35 percent were in pain.
Additionally, 71 percent of those he helped die were women, leading researchers to conclude that women were particularly vulnerable to his crusade, because suicide rates are usually lower among women than among men.
Many disability rights advocates, led by Not Dead Yet, have long opposed Kevorkian's crusade to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. They have argued that doing so would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities and anyone else who is considered undesirable or a "burden" on society -- particularly at a time when the cost of health care is high. They have pointed out that most of those Kevorkian helped end their lives were in emotional, psychological or social crises, not in the final stages of terminal illnesses as was originally believed.
"Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)
"The Suicide Machine" (Detroit Free Press)