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Bernie Goes Free

Movie Poster for "Bernie"
Movie Poster for “Bernie”

Bernie Tiede, the center point of the 2012 dark comedy “Bernie”, has been freed early from a life prison sentence after serving 15 years. Tiede, the former mortician from Carthage, TX was convicted of murdering his companion, a rich widow, and stuffing her in a freezer. Bizarrely Bernie is released under strict bond conditions that he will go live with Richard Linklater, the Austin writer and director of “Bernie” who has volunteered to take him in.

The movie “Bernie” was shown in Paris at the Paris Community Theatre as a special screening right after its release in 2012. Paris native Judd Payne, one of the producers of the movie gave a talk to the sold out crowd following the movie about the making of the movie as well as the story behind it. The movie features Shirley MacLaine as the cantankerous and miserly widow Majorie Nugent, Bernie’s companion whom he murdered. Jack Black portrays Bernie, and Matthew McMcConaughey stars as the District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson who prosecuted Bernie.

The premiere was put on by the Paris Downtown Association which raised almost $9,000 to make grant money available to businesses and building owners in the downtown historic district to improve and renovate their buildings.  A portion of the proceeds have gone to PCTs Brown Centre for the Creative Arts and the newly opened “107”.

Producer Judd Payne at Bernie Screen in Paris, 2012
Producer Judd Payne at Bernie Screen in Paris, 2012 caught up with Payne to get his take on Bernie’s release and the success of the movie. ”It’s wild,” says Payne, “Here we make a movie about this guy Bernie, and now he’s gonna be free and living in Rick [Linklater]’s apartment. Hilarious!”

“You know, one of the attorneys who pushed for Bernie’s release was a lady who just happened to attend one of the early screenings and thought that she would look further into the case,” Payne said.

Is there going to be a Bernie 2? “That’s pretty funny, but no. At the same time, we are meeting with one of our distribution partners to find ways to capitalize on publicity. We are exploring midnight movie screenings and some things like that.” Payne went on to say, “It was on the Today Show this morning and Yahoo! News this afternoon, but eventually it will die back down.  For now though, we want to try to take advantage of the renewed interest because we really do think it is a great film.”

Payne and his company Wind Dancer Films is also about to release a new Kevin James TV series as well as a new thriller for the big screen to be shown at the Toronto Film Festival in a few months.

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