I love You, Phillip Morris

It would be quite premature to suggest a movie without seeing it first, right? Well, I will when I get the copy on DVD in a a few days, but from the research I’ve done, it sounds gooooood.

I heard about a new Jim Carrey movie that will be out on December 3rd called ‘ I love You, Phillip Morris’. He plays a gay con artist.  I did research on this guy and I was just flabbergasted to the acts of crime this guy did. He’s now serving 144 years in prison because he escaped jail several times in attempts to reunite with his prison lover. You are can buy the movie on DVD from online stores as it has been released in Europe/Asia last year but for some reason it just released into theatres in North America on December 3rd, 2010. Usually its the opposite. But it has received rave reviews throughout.

Sidenote: JimCarrey.com has got to be one of the best fan websites. Even though I am not a die hard fan.

I am not glorifying this story nor do I find it inspirational, but it sounds damn entertaining.

It is the improbable but true story of a spectacularly charismatic conman’s journey from small-town businessman to flamboyant white-collar criminal, who repeatedly finds himself in trouble with the law and on the lam, brilliantly escaping from the Texas prison system on four separate occasions – all in the name of love.

Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) leads a seemingly average life – an organ player in the local church, happily married to Debbie (Leslie Mann), and a member of the local police force. That is until he has a severe car accident that leads him to the ultimate epiphany: he’s gay and he’s going to live life to the fullest – even if he has to break the law to do it. Taking on an extravagant lifestyle, Steven turns to cons and fraud to make ends meet and is eventually sent to the State Penitentiary where he meets the love of his life, a sensitive, soft-spoken man named Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). His devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life together prompts him to attempt (and often succeed at) one impossible con after another. Told with an uncanny sense of humor and a lot of heart, “I Love You Phillip Morris” is an oddball tale of what can happen when the legal system, a daredevil spirit and undying love collide.

I posted a Wiki article on him and you’d think this is what only Hollywood would concieve, but this is non fiction. But note, I am in no way glorifying this, it’s just one hella of a story.

It’s been reported that his IQ level is at 168, that number is at the genius/gifted level. What a waste. But 144 years in jail??? He’s not a murderer, serial rapist etc. Just the government’s rage.

Steven Jay Russell was adopted at birth by a conservative family in New York. During the 1970s, Russell was employed as a deputy police officer and lived with his family in Georgia. While serving with the police force he would often make use of the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Service and the National Crime Information Center databases to find information on his birth mother, eventually learning to use such sources to great effect. It is believed that said skills aided him in conning his way into attaining a job as a sales manager with White Swan Foodservice in Houston, Texas, by convincing then CEO Ronald Elmquist that he held advanced degrees in fresh food service management.

When it was revealed that Russell was gay, he lost his job at White Swan Foodservices. He went on to convince the CEOs of two other food service companies of his non-existent qualifications before being realised as a fraud. He was subsequently arrested on dubious lewd behavior charges at a Houston park known as a gathering place for gay men.

Over the years, Russell had at least 14 known aliases. During his escapes he masqueraded as a judge, a physician, a police officer and a handyman, among others.

On May 21, 1993, Russell escaped from Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas, wearing civilian clothes he had obtained. Afterward he fabricated bogus credentials and obtained a job as CFO of North American Medical Management. He proceeded to embezzle thousands of dollars from the company. In 1995, his crimes were discovered, and Russell was imprisoned for insurance fraud and again placed in Harris County Jail, where he met future lover Phillip Morris.

In 1996, while in Harris County Jail (Texas), Russell impersonated a judge and ordered his own bond decreased from $900,000 to $45,000, which he paid, securing his own release. He was arrested ten days later in Florida, and was subsequently transported back to Texas. That same year he began participating in art classes provided by the prison. Each time he attended a session, he stole a green Magic Marker and hid it under his bed. Eventually, he had enough markers to dye his white prison uniform green. Since all the medical professionals in the prison wore green uniforms, Russell was able to walk out of the prison disguised as a doctor.

In 1998, he was again at the Harris County Jail, serving a 45-year sentence for stealing $800,000 from a Houston company that manages physicians’ finances, plus 20 years for the previous escape. He later managed to have Phillip Morris transferred to the Dallas County Jail and tried to have him released.

It was while in prison that Russell began to plot his most daring escape. In the prison library, Russell read extensively on HIV and AIDS. He began taking laxatives to mimic the symptoms of AIDS, and used a prison typewriter to forge a medical document stating that he suffered from the disease, and used it to convince doctors of his “condition” on February 24. He fooled the prison doctor into believing that a ‘special needs parole’ to a Houston hospital had been authorized on March 13. Once free, Russell posed as a doctor and informed the prison staff via telephone that Russell had died from AIDS.[2]

On March 20, 1998, Russell posed as a Virginia millionaire in an attempt to legitimise a $75,000 loan from NationsBank in Dallas. When bank officials became suspicious and alerted the police, Russell feigned a heart attack and was transported to a hospital. While in hospital, Russell was placed under guard by FBI agents. However, Russell managed to impersonate an FBI agent on his cellular phone and convinced those guarding him to leave. He was then able to leave the hospital unimpeded.[2]

On April 5, 1998, Russell was again arrested in Fort Lauderdale while walking to his car. He was again shipped back to Texas and tried, receiving a 144-year jail sentence.


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