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The original Three Faces of Eve book was rushed into publication and film rights immediately sold to director Nunnally Johnson in 1957, apparently to capitalize on public interest in multiple personalities following the publication of Shirley Jackson's 1954 novel The Birds' Nest, which was made into the 1957 film Lizzie.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Joanne Woodward), at that time a relative unknown, who later went on to play Dr. Cornelia Wilbur in Sybil (film).
The movie was filmed at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia.
In her autobiography I'm Eve, Chris Costner-Sizemore remarked on the fact that the movie did not portray her real life at all. Her system did not integrate until much later, and she found her therapist's portrayal of her exploitive. But she was unable, at the time, to do anything about it, because she was not allowed to disclose her real identity as "Eve." One doctor even considered her delusional for believing she was "Eve." Costner-Sizemore and her family lived in virtual seclusion for years, fearing that someone would discover her past.
Telling Costner-Sizemore she was too mentally ill to take charge of her own affairs, Thigpen made all the arrangements with Twentieth-Century Fox Studios to film his version of her life story. By Costner-Sizemore's later account (related in her books I'm Eve and A Mind Of My Own as well as numerous interviews), he was acting as her sole representative with Fox, and simultaneously as Fox's representative with her, while continuing to see her in counseling. She was paid $7000, while Dr. Thigpen made approximately $1 million.
By Costner-Sizemore's account, Dr. Thigpen used her story for personal gain. When the movie debuted in Augusta, Georgia, he warned her not to see it, telling her it would be "extremely harmful" to her therapy progress. Costner-Sizemore reports feeling objectified and invalidated by the experience, particularly on seeing advertising images everywhere of Joanne Woodward portraying her. Later, Thigpen tried to stop her from writing I'm Eve in 1977, claiming that he had the sole rights to the story of her life. Fox paid her $5000 to option the book for a TV movie, but never went ahead with the project.
Costner-Sizemore did not realize the extent to which she had been exploited by Thigpen until 1988, when she tried to work with Sissy Spacek on a proposed screenplay for a feature film version of A Mind Of My Own. Spacek expressed interest in an accurate portrayal and her partner Bobbie Edrick agreed to produce it. However, Spacek was subsequently contacted by Fox representatives, who claimed that the proposed film could not be made because Fox owned all rights to Costner-Sizemore's life story in perpetuity. Costner-Sizemore had apparently signed the contract back in 1957 without reading it carefully. By Edrick's report, the real reason Fox insisted on the rights was that they were planning to remake Three Faces of Eve as a comedy, with Lily Tomlin.
Costner-Sizemore took Fox to Federal District Court in Manhattan in 1988 with the help of attorney Carol Rinsler, who argued that Costner-Sizemore was incompetent at the time, and that Fox's behavior in 1977 -- paying her for the rights to "I'm Eve" -- was inconsistent with their belief that they already owned the rights to her life story. She managed to get the contract declared null and void. The film rights to A Mind Of My Own now belong to Spacek.
See imdb.com for full film credits.
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