One of the surprise hits at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year was a documentary from Lauren Greenfield, “Queen of Versailles,” focusing on the incredibly rich Siegel family struggling to build a mansion to rival the Palace of Versailles. The Siegels are now thinking of suing the director.
As we also noted at the time the first trailer for the film came out, “Queen of Versailles” is a riches to rags story, telling of the plight of the impossibly rich people struggling to maintain the same lifestyle as before the economic crisis.
The mansion the Siegels were thinking of building is estimated at $100 million (€81.5 million), with the film explaining how they came to list it for sale when they realized they would not be able to complete the construction.
According to the New York Daily News, the Siegels aren't as poor as they're portrayed in the documentary and neither are they selling the unfinished house.
Because the film makes them look poor and desperate (particularly desperate enough to unload the mansion), they want Greenfield to change the ending or they will sue.
“Versailles does not face foreclosure because it was refinanced, and construction is starting again,” Siegel, the CEO of Westgate Resorts,” says in an open letter to TheWrap, obtained by the NYDN.
“As it stands now, it’s like ending an account of a basketball game after the third quarter. I believe that it’s only fair that (Greenfield) complete the story honestly and with integrity,” Mr. Siegel writes.
In other words, the family was in a lot of trouble at the time the documentary was in the making but is no more.
At the same time, Siegel claims that certain scenes included in the final cut were staged or scripted and, as such, false and damaging to his image.
An attorney for Greenfield has already responded to Siegel's claims to say that the documentary is true to life, such as it was when production was ongoing.
Consequently, the ending won't be changed and the film won't be edited to please the Siegels.
“It tells a story about a time in America and everybody should see it and make their own judgment. Nothing in The Queen of Versailles is staged. There is no reason to update the film,” says Greenfield's attorney.
Below is the trailer of the documentary, which opens in US theaters today, July 20.