NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kathy Cash, the second daughter of music legend Johnny Cash, says the upcoming film biography of her father, "Walk the Line,” portrays her family – particularly her mother, Johnny’s first wife – unfairly in an effort to further glamorize the love story between Johnny and June Carter Cash.
“I was very upset,” she told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. “I walked out on that film five times.”
While she admires the acting performances of the two main stars – Joaquin Phoenix as her father and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash – Kathy Cash said the movie makes her mother, Vivian Liberto Distin, look like a shrew, The Tennessean reported November 10.
"Walk the Line" also does not show the pain she and her three sisters faced during their father’s struggle with drug addiction and their parents’ divorce, she said.
“Anyone who wants a good sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll movie is gonna love it,” Kathy Cash told The Tennessean. “I’m anticipating dyed-in-the-wool fans objecting to a lot of stuff.”
What really troubled her was how none of the happy times her mother and father shared were mentioned in the film, including the happy 13-year marriage they had before he started abusing pills. And as she noted, in the song “I Walk the Line” Johnny Cash was actually pledging to be faithful to his first wife.
“My mom was basically a nonentity in the entire film except for the mad little psycho who hated his career,” she said. “That’s not true. She loved his career and was proud of him until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home.”
Vivian Liberto Distin died of complications from lung cancer earlier this year.
But the only child Johnny and June Carter Cash had together, the now 35-year-old John Carter Cash, was an executive producer for the film and said he tried to best tell of the passionate love that consumed his parents, though he acknowledged Kathy Cash’s complaints were not unfounded.
“Kathy grew up in a household I was never in,” he told The Tennessean. “I’m compassionately understanding. The point of the film is my parents’ love affair. That’s the lasting light that lived through their lives. The most important thing for my parents on this earth was their love for each other.”
“Walk the Line,” which is rated PG-13, is set to open in theaters nationwide November 18, 2005.
© 2005 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.