Bedford Hills Correctional Facility inmate Joyce “Tillie” Mitchell has a bone to pick with Ben Stiller’s portrayal of her in his new Showtime series, “Escape at Dannemora,” which is based on a true story involving Mitchell and the two convicted murderers she helped break out of prison, leading to a multi-million dollar manhunt and the death of one of the inmates.
In an interview from prison, Mitchell (above left) — who is portrayed by Patricia Arquette (above right) on the drama — told the New York Post that she “never had sex” with the men, David Sweat (played by Paul Dano) and Richard Matt (played by Benicio Del Toro), which is a large plot point in “Escape at Dannemora.”
“Ben Stiller is a son-of-a-bitch liar just like the rest of the world,” Mitchell told the Post of the show’s director and executive producer. “He doesn’t care about the truth. All he cares about is making millions off me. He’s an idiot.”
Mitchell is currently serving a seven-year sentence for the part she played in the 2015 prison break (namely purchasing hacksaw blades and a drill bit to help Matt and Sweat saw their way out), which she says she did out of fear.
“At that point, I had to do it. I was stupid. They took advantage of my kindness,” Mitchell said, according to the Post. “I wish I could take it all back. If I had to do it over, I would have told somebody.”
Mitchell says she hasn’t seen “Escape at Dannemora,” but corrections officers have asked her about details from the series.
The show depicts Mitchell — who worked as a seamstress supervising the inmates in the prison’s tailor shop — as having been seduced by the prisoners, who Arquette’s character often sleeps with in the shop’s closet.
But Mitchell told the Post it would have been “impossible” to have sex in that space because of an air compressor. She also told the Post the one instance of oral sex she had with Matt was coerced and says she doesn’t “remember” telling police she became “caught up in the fantasy” of being with Matt and Sweat.
Representatives for Showtime and Stiller declined TheWrap’s request for further comment, citing an interview with Stiller published by Deadline Sunday.
“Look, that’s the story she has always told,” Stiller told Deadline, when asked to respond to Mitchell saying she felt exploited by him and the series. “We did a year’s worth of research on the project. We talked to a lot of people who were in the tailor shop, and in the Inspector General’s Office. We got as much information as we could from the police reports, the interviews, and then we put together our story. We think it is a real representation of what went on.”
He added: “I’m sorry she feels that way. It can’t be fun to be in prison and I don’t have any ill will towards her in particular.”