Robert Durst was a fan of director Andrew Jarecki’s 2010 telling of his life and alleged crimes, All Good Things — and not just because Ryan Gosling played the suspected serial murderer. As The Jinx made clear, the even-handed telling of the tale based on verified facts and Jarecki’s research drew Durst to the director in the first place, and was a major reason he agreed to be interviewed by Jarecki after years of avoiding the press. But The Jinx wasn’t the only Jarecki project for which he offered his assistance. During the same period, Durst actually joined the director for a viewing of All Good Things, recording commentary for the film’s DVD, released in March 2011. The two banter back and forth as they watch the slightly fictionalized depiction of Durst’s stormy relationship with his wife Kathie (played by Kirsten Dunst), her disappearance, and the murders of his friends Susan Berman and Morris Black.
Though listening to the commentary doesn’t capture Durst’s oil-pool eyes and full-body blinks that made him such a creepy presence in The Jinx, his audio is still plenty spooky. Probably the weirdest thing about the commentary is how much Durst endorses Jarecki’s portrayal of him — whether yanking his wife from a party by the hair or dismembering his buddy — and how little emotion he displays as he agrees that, “This is more or less accurate.” Though the conversation tends to go quiet when an actual murder is committed onscreen, there is one moment where Durst loudly protests: when the film implies he killed the family dog.
There’s no “killed them all, of course” line, but the DVD commentary offers some odd insight into Durst’s view of himself and his actions, and in light of his admission in The Jinx’s finale, takes on a new level of menace. Here are a few of the creepiest exchanges, and a couple darkly funny ones.
On the scene in the opening credits when a young Durst shoots a toy gun at his mom:
“I did like guns when I was a little kid, I remember that.”
On meeting Kathie’s family:
“That is one of the major regrets in my life, is the way I treated her family, her mother. They’d never met anything like me before, this guy with piles of money and terrible manners. I used to feed the dog while I was sitting at the table. I used to talk about making love to Kathie at the dining-room table in front of her mother. [I was] absolutely impossible.”
On why Kathie’s family paid for the wedding, despite the Dursts’ enormous wealth:
“The bride’s family pays for the wedding.”
On his shock that Kathie was accepted to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine:
“I just didn’t think she would be accepted. I thought that if she was accepted to medical school, it would be one of the lesser-rated schools. My shock was somewhat tempered … [since] the reason she got accepted at Albert Einstein was because my grandfather was a founder of Albert Einstein.”
On his refusal to help pay for Kathie’s school, and the cancellation of her credit cards:
“I was always, always, always very controlling. In terms of the stuff that’s out there — that I tried to get her out of medical school, that I wouldn’t pay her tuition — I wouldn’t pay her tuition because she’d hired lawyers, my lawyer insisted that I don’t pay for anything that I hadn’t paid for in the past, and she’d gone and done one of those federal programs where they pay for it and you take a loan. The lawyer said, ‘Don’t pay for the medical school.’”
“Yes, I cancelled her credit card and took her off the bank account, but she had her own bank account and I didn’t want her on mine, or I guess I was told that she shouldn’t be on [my] credit card — she could get her own credit cards.”
“She never filed for divorce. She wanted a child, to have children, and she wanted me to not always be the dominant one, to not always make all the decisions in the marriage.”
On the scene where Gosling’s character storms into Dunst’s graduation party and pulls her out by her hair:
“This is close. After a number of years, before, where we would go to her family’s house for a function, I would insist that we agree on how long we are going to stay: two hours, three hours, four hours. We would always do a negotiation, and when the time was up, I was ready to leave.”
“I’ve seen the story about the hair two different ways. One way, I drag her out of the house by her hair; the other way, I grab her hair and a big chunk comes out. Either way is close enough.”
On the scene in which Dunst’s character seeks refuge in a neighbor’s apartment in the midst of a fight with Gosling’s character:
Durst: This is more or less accurate. I don’t know why she would go in our neighbor’s window as opposed to go to their door. But it was pouring, and we were having a wrestling, shoving-type fight, and she ran out on the terrace and ran into their apartment. Said she was afraid to come home. [I] said, “She doesn’t want to come home, she doesn’t have to come home.”
Jarecki: Did you feel like she was really afraid to come home?
Durst: I’ve got no idea. I didn’t really care one way or another what she did. It was late and I was just tired.”
On the part where Dunst’s character discovers Gosling’s character killed Igor, the family dog:
Durst: This made me feel bad about the movie, Andrew. I mean, the idea that I could kill Igor, I don’t like.
Jarecki: Well, there was a lot of discussion about you having had a lot of dogs over the years, a bunch of [which] were named Igor. Someone said to us at one point that you had seven dogs over ten years or something.”
Durst: No. We had two Igors before the Igor that lasted forever. One of them got run over, and one of them, when he was a puppy, went out and … ate an apple core. The apple core got stuck in his gut. We did an operation on him, and he died.
On his relationship with Morris Black:
Durst: [In Galveston, I] didn’t know anybody there to begin with, and when I left, I didn’t know anybody but Morris Black. And we were both loners and had some strange things in common and didn’t do much. There’s not that much to do in Galveston, anyway, but whatever it was, we did it. Went to some movies. Saw Traffic.
Jarecki: The movie Traffic?
Durst: Yes, the movie Traffic.
Jarecki: You didn’t just sit and watch traffic.
Durst: [Laughing] There wasn’t even much traffic in Galveston.
On Morris Black’s death and dismemberment:
“I remember it very, very, very clearly, and I remember the nightmare I went through over the next several days trying to decide what to do, deciding I could not go to the police, the police aren’t going to believe this, nobody’s going to believe that I came down here to Galveston a rich guy, rented a $300-a-month apartment disguised as a woman, and oh, by the way, my neighbor is lying in my kitchen with a shot in the face from my gun …”
“They never found the head. I have no idea why. I do know that there must have been 15 garbage bags full of body parts and other stuff with blood on it or whatever, and they found 12. Why they didn’t find the other ones, since they were all dumped in the same place, I have no idea.”