NEW BOSTON, TX (KLTV)- The East Texas man, who the new movie "Bernie" is named after, says he meet some A-list celebrities when they visited him in prison.
On June 1, the movie opens in local theaters. The movie tells the tale of how he murdered a wealthy Carthage widow. Then, hid her body in the freezer for 9 months until people became suspicious of his lies.
Right now, Tiede is serving a life sentence in the Telford Prison Unit in New Boston, Texas. That's about 100 miles north of Carthage.
KLTV traveled to New Boston to meet Tiede in person. It's there he told the real story behind the movie, just as he told Jack Black and Richard Linklater when they were working on the film.
"They came up here not too long ago, April of last year, and filmed some DVD extras right out there," Tiede said as he pointed to the visitation area on the other side of the glass window he was speaking through.
Tiede said he didn't even find out his story was being turned into a movie until someone mailed him an article about it. Then, he got a letter from the director, Richard Linklater, and later, a three hour visit from Jack Black.
"He came to see me, to see my mannerisms, to see how I responded to things," said Tiede.
Throughout the making of the movie, the cast stayed in touch, Tiede said.
"I have some emails from Jack Black and Shirley MacClain. She was really just a sweetheart. She had some things she wanted to know about Mrs. Nugent," Tiede recalls.
Tiede said he gave the stars some real-life scenarios about his time with the wealthy widow, Marjorie Nugent. But, he hasn't seen the movie so he's not sure what they used and what they didn't.
Tiede said at first he was uneasy about the film being made into a comedy. But, he says he has gotten used to that now.
"Comedy and tragedy, we learn in drama, are two faces of the same mask. So, I guess it's ok and the treatment of it will be ok. It's getting some reviews and they're favorable," Tiede says.
While the film has been classified a dark comedy, still to this day, the district attorney who prosecuted Tiede's case, said nothing about the situation will ever be funny.
"You can't make a dark comedy out of a murder," Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson said.
But, the movie writers disagree.
"There is, in a very dark, way a comic story about Bernie's cover up of the murder," said Skip Hollandsworth when the movie was screened by the press in March.
Hollandsworth co-wrote the movie with Richard Linklater and wrote the original Texas Monthly story about the murder.
"I knew this story had elements that you would not find in any traditional murder story," he said.
Hollandsworth said they took great care not to make a mockery of the murder, or the man who is serving time for it. That man, Bernie Tiede, is still asking himself why he ever did it.
"I don't know, but I sure wish I could go and undo it... every minute of my life," Tiede said.
We contacted Marjorie Nugent's family's attorney to get their side of the story, but he did not return our emails or calls.
The interview with Bernie Tiede was an entire hour long. If you want to see the whole thing, from start to finish, click the links below.
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