'I am the Night' finds perfect podcast companion in 'Root of Evil', where the Hodel family discusses the curse of the Black Dahlia legacy
One of the most unique voices in 'Root of Evil' is that of Steve Hodel, who as an LAPD Homicide Detective, confirmed his father, George, murdered Elizabeth Short aka Black Dahlia
January 28 is an important day for anyone with a remote interest in the notorious Black Dahlia murder. TNT is premiering 'I am the Night' helmed by Patty Jenkins on the day, and it will narrate the story of the late Fauna Hodel, who, having been given up for adoption, tracks down her biological family, only to find out that her grandfather is the infamous George Hodel, widely accepted as the Black Dahlia murderer.
While 'I am the Night' narrates the exceptional story of the Hodel family, there is so much more to be told about George and how his actions impacted generations to come. "That is why Patty knew she could never tell mom's story in a two-hour movie feature. That's why she had to take it to television," Fauna’s daughters Yvette Gentile and Rasha Pecoraro tell MEAWW.
As it turns out, even the eight-episode TNT series could not cover it all, which is when TNT, in coordination with filmmaker Zak Levitt, decided to work on the companion podcast to 'I am the Night' called 'Root of Evil', which will premiere via Cadence 13 on February 13 on Apple Podcasts and other podcasting platforms.
"There is so much information. You just keep peeling the onion, [you find] layers and layers of new discoveries. You will not be bored," quips Yvette. As Levitt puts it, 'Root of Evil' is going to be the deep dive into the true story of the Hodels that is narrated in 'I am the Night'.
"It is going to be a much more sprawling, expansive story containing the stories of most of the living family members who have been affected by the legacy of carrying the Hodel name," Levitt tells MEAWW, adding, "'I am the Night' is primarily focused on Fauna Hodel's story, this is going to be the story of many of the Hodels, and kind of intertwining all of them into this one narrative about their family."
Levitt discussed the potential podcast with Fauna’s daughters Yvette and Rasha and says that even though he knew this story was too expansive to just limit to Fauna, it was meeting the women that gave shape to 'Root of Evil'.
"They began telling me more personal stories about family members, some of whom they didn't even really speak to, and through a process of several months I was able to get into contact with a lot of the family members and as I began to have conversations with them, I realized that each one of them individually also had an incredible story to tell," explains Levitt.
"And then, when I looked at them all together, I realized that we would be doing a disservice to our story if we really didn't try to — as best as we could — include everybody, because it is such a unique story and heartbreaking and harrowing," he says, adding that the more family members he spoke to, more contacts he would get and before long everything fell into place.
One of the most unique voices in this story is that of Steve Hodel, who during his tenure as an LAPD Homicide Detective gathered enough information to confirm that his father, George, murdered Elizabeth Short, more popularly known as Black Dahlia.
Steve’s side of the events, along with that of the rest of his family made for a really unique story. "I really think it was a catharsis for every single one of them. I think that they have been carrying this story and their pain for their entire lives — since they were children and they have all had uniquely shocking stories about what they have been through — really heartbreaking," says Levitt.
He adds, "It's hard to believe that all of these things could happen in one family and that is the most unique thing about this entire story."
As for Fauna’s daughters, "It was really interesting and cathartic [to meet family members they weren't in touch with]." Yvette says, "There are certain family members that we were closer to than others but for the first time in all of our lives, we were coming together and hearing each of their stories individually, which we had never heard before. It was mind-blowing, shocking and healing."
While most families have dark secrets or at least baggage that you do not talk about in a public forum, it was a scary and cathartic experience for everyone who participates, says Rasha.
She talks about how this experience also helped change her views about other members of the family and in other cases reinstated her opinions and made her think, 'Ooh, I knew I didn't like that person for a reason'.
"I think you just have that much more compassion for one another, for what each other has been through," Rasha says, adding, "We may all derive from the Hodel family but that doesn't define who we are. It gave everybody an opportunity to tell their truth. Where you go from there and how you heal from that." That will be the root of all discussions when Cadence 13's 'Root of Evil' will premiere on February 13 on Apple Podcasts and other podcasting platforms while 'I Am the Night' is slated to premiere on January 28 on TNT.