Like Armie Hammer, the Hollywood golden boy, he became a pariah

Like Armie Hammer, the Hollywood golden boy, he became a pariah

Like Armie Hammer, the Hollywood golden boy, he became a pariah

Before the Scandal: Armie Hammer in Death on the Nile - Rob Youngson

Before the Scandal: Armie Hammer in Death on the Nile – Rob Youngson

“Army [Hammer] he didn’t wake up one day and became a monster, ”says the actor’s aunt, Casey, the 61-year-old niece of oil billionaire Armand Hammer. She is featured in a documentary, House of Hammer, released today, which chronicles the rise and fall of her dysfunctional family. “This is a learned behavior.” He closes his eyes and takes a breath.

In 2021, several women came forward to accuse the beautiful Hollywood star, best known for The Social Network and Call Me By Your Name, of physical and emotional abuse. One victim accused him of rape, while others released abusive messages sent by the actor in which he suggested dominating, raping and cannibalizing them.

“I have a fantasy about having someone show his love and devotion and tie him up in a public place at night and make free use of his body and see if they fuck strangers for me,” reads a message apparently sent. from Hammer to one of the alleged victims Julia Morrison. Another, to Texan entrepreneur Courtney Vucekovich: “I’m 100% cannibal. I want to eat you. “Hammer, who until 2020 was married to television chef Elizabeth Chambers with whom he has two young children, has consistently denied all allegations of rape and sexual abuse and claimed his interactions with women were consensual. .

The blue-eyed Armie star before the pandemic was on the rise. After his debut in the cult arthouse film Call Me by Your Name opposite Timothée Chalamet, he was nominated for a number of awards and appeared on the cover of GQ announced as a “star”. The interviewer described him as a “prince charming” of “pure decency” while Chalamet called him a “walking example”. In 2020, he starred in the Netflix adaptation of Rebecca alongside Lily James and appeared alongside a glittering cast in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile.

He was also part of one of the most powerful family dynasties in America. Casey Hammer lights up as she describes her grandfather’s parties in her California mansion where she confronted Prince Charles and Princess Diana. “All of Hollywood wanted to be on the guest list,” she says. “There were movie stars, powerful people and presidents. I have met many royalty. Dancing next to them, you were just pinching yourself.

Hammer's great-grandfather Armand on his private jet - Bettmann Archive

Hammer’s great-grandfather Armand on his private jet – Bettmann Archive

But the family name – which Armie got tattooed on his wrist – did nothing to help 32-year-old Hammer return from one of the most explosive and gruesome cancellations in Hollywood history. While other canceled celebrities, including Woody Allen, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp and Louis CK, have managed to “come back” of sorts through sincere apologies and with devoted fans determined to fight their corner, Hammer makes a lonely figure. He was ditched by his talent agency WME and his latest film, Billion Dollar Spy, and is now rumored to sell timeshares in the Cayman Islands.

Now a new documentary, House of Hammer, about the dynasty, looks set to extinguish any chance that anyone in show business will be working with Hammer again.

In addition to the testimonies of three of Armie’s alleged victims, the documentary attempts to contextualize Armie’s behavior within five generations of wealthy, titled Hammer men, some of whom are said to feel they have the right to treat women as disposable toys. and throws.

Casey, who was contacted by the producers after self-publishing her memoir short story in 2015, Surviving my Birthright, wanted the documentary to “turn on [the] multigenerational abuse that went through my family “and see how it might seem to some that” the rich think they can get away with anything … People watch Succession and think it’s a scriptwriter’s fantasy, but this is mine family a thousand times “.

Casey Hammer in the new Discovery + documentary - Screen Grab

Casey Hammer in the new Discovery + documentary – Screen Grab

According to Casey, the Hammer family brand was “all about being camera ready” and giving a marketable sheen to deep dysfunction. “You could never leave that house without makeup,” she says. But behind closed doors she and her brother Michael (Armie’s father) grew up in an atmosphere of chaotic violence. They regularly watched their father, Julian, wave guns around while they were drunk and on drugs. In her book she describes an early memory of seeing her mother (who left her father when she was 11) being beaten by her father on Christmas Eve: “Blood came out of her mouth in a stream, splashing her bra and slipping.” .

Casey traces the problems back to the family patriarch: his grandfather and Occidental Petroleum magnate Armand. Born in 1898, Armand was the son of Russian immigrants, and the emotionally detached billionaire would not see family members without an appointment. He had never been close to his only son Julian (Casey’s father). The boy was the son of his first marriage to a Russian singer, and Armand spent his next life trying to get rid of his Soviet heritage.

The only way Julian could get his father’s attention, Casey argues, was through increasingly reckless behavior: from parties with a string of young “rulers” and in 1955, at the age of 26, to killing of a man at his Los Angeles home after a rumor has it that he was ignited by gambling debt. Julian was arrested, but the charges were later dismissed. In his memoirs, Casey claims that Julian (who died in 1996) sexually abused her. He believes Julian learned from his father – whom he also claims once he offered his son $ 1 million for his girlfriend – to treat women like toys.

Hammer opposite Lily James in Rebecca - Kerry Brown / Netflix

Hammer opposite Lily James in Rebecca – Kerry Brown / Netflix

He was Casey’s brother Michael who became the heir to Hammer’s fortune. He also withstood his fair share of scandal. According to a 2021 article published in Vanity Fair, Michael – who divorced his wife Dru in 2012 – prided himself on owning a 7-foot “sex throne” with “a chair with a hole in the seat, a cage underneath and a hook” (which his lawyer dismissed as a joke gift from a friend). Casey hasn’t spoken to him in 13 years.

This is the family that Armie grew up in (they commuted between Santa Monica and the Cayman Islands), and although Armie separated financially from his family, once he told GQ it was his choice, “get stronger”, not is emotionally estranged: he spent the 2020 lockdown in quarantine with his father in the Cayman Islands.

Speaking via video link from the US, I am surprised at how calm, sharp and confident Casey seems considering the extreme childhood trauma described in her memoir. I was expecting a more fragile interviewee. She laughs and lifts a “worry stone” that is spinning in her palm. “It took me 61 years to be able to sit in front of you and say that I love myself and I’m fine. There are still days when I do all the sabotage and self-hatred because that’s what I’m used to. In her book she admits that, like most of the Hammers, she struggled with drug addiction. For many years she has preferred to numb her pain with cocaine.

Call Me by Your Name - Sony Pictures

Call Me by Your Name – Sony Pictures

Online trolls have said that Casey – who is estranged from her family and claims to have received only $ 250,000 (£ 215,000) in her grandfather’s 1990 will, while her brother left with $ 180 million (£ 155 million) – it’s just “coming out of the carpentry” to collect.

But he says that when news of Armie’s loss of roles in Hollywood broke, “I got a lot of calls and the last thing I wanted to do was be a comment on Armie’s implosion. She will do it on her own. I’m not here to talk about cannibalism and what’s in store for Armie’s career. It’s like: hello ?! What’s in store for the victims? Who is focusing on them? Who tells their story?

He adds: “A good example of why it is necessary to stop the cycle of abuse is that it can hold victims hostage until adulthood… You cannot erase the pain, shame, guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder. . It is all inclusive. I don’t care what level of abuse. Mental, physical, sexual … people focus a lot on sexual abuse, but mental abuse is scary, it consumes everything. “

House of Hammer is now streaming on Discovery +

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