Billy Campbell and Clea Duvall are set to co-star opposite Christina Ricci in Lifetime’s movie about one of the most famous murder trials in American history. Directed by Nick Gomez and produced by Sony Pictures Television, the film tells the story of Fall River, Mass., resident Lizzie Borden (Ricci), who finds herself on trial for the brutal axe murders of her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, and his second wife, Abby Durfee Gray Borden, at their family home. She was acquitted though no one else was ever charged with the crime, which has remained unsolved. Campbell will play Borden’s attorney, Andrew Jennings, while Gersh-repped Duvall will play her sister Emma. Judith Verno executive produces.
Long before Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony and Jodi Arias, there was another young American woman on a trial for murder that became a media spectacle. I’ve learned exclusively that Christina Ricci has been tapped to play Lizzie Borden in a Lifetime original movie about the woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 ax murders of her father and stepmother. Directed by Nick Gomez and produced by Sony Pictures Television, the movie tells the story of Fall River, Mass., resident Borden, who finds herself on trial for the brutal murder with a hatchet-type weapon of her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, and his second wife, Abby Durfee Gray Borden, at their family home. She was acquitted at a trial, which drew national attention, though no one else was ever charged with the crime, which has remained unsolved. Despite being found guilty in the court of public opinion in her native town, at least in some circles, Borden lived in Fall River for the rest of her life. Judith Verno (Lifetime’s Drew Peterson: Untouchable) executive produces the movie, which joins such recent entries at the network as Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, Prosecuting Casey Anthony and the upcoming Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret, which also is exec produced by Verno. Elizabeth Montgomery played Borden in the 1975 ABC movie The Legend Of Lizzie …
EXCLUSIVE: The decision was made mutually by NBC and the project’s creator, Liz Brixius, and producers, Wolf Films and Universal TV. It comes 10 days after Christina Ricci, who had been cast as the lead in Girlfriend In A Coma, exited the pilot. After seeing a number of actresses, the pilot’s auspices concluded that the talent pool so late in the pilot season is just not wide enough to find a suitable replacement for the Karen role, which carries the project. Based on Douglas Coupland’s book, Girlfriend In A Coma centers on Karen, a woman who was in a coma for many years and unexpectedly wakes up to find she has a 17-year-old daughter, Evie (Miranda Cosgrove). Daniel Stern and Ann Cusack play Karen’s parents, who have been raising Evie. The Girlfriend In A Coma script was a favorite of NBC executives who remain committed to making the pilot as part of the current cycle, with filming tentatively scheduled for June.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC comedy pilot Girlfriend In A Coma will be recasting its lead following the departure of Christina Ricci. I hear Ricci left the project after the table read. She was the first major cast member to board the pilot, which has been a favorite of NBC brass. As part of Ricci’s casting, the project was expected to move after the pilot from Los Angeles to New York where she is based. Production will now likely stay in Los Angeles if the pilot goes to series. Written by Liz Brixius based on Douglas Coupland’s book, Girlfriend In A Coma centers on Karen, a woman who was in a coma for many years and unexpectedly wakes up to find she has a 17-year-old daughter, Evie (Miranda Cosgrove). Daniel Stern and Ann Cusack play Karen’s parents, who have been raising Evie. Recastings are an unfortunate but unavoidable part of pilot season when 100 pilots are being cast in the span of a month and a half. Other pilots that have undergone recastings so far this season include ABC’s Keep Calm And Karey On, Mixology and Pulling, Fox’s The List and Gang Related and NBC’s untitled Robert Padnick.
NBC has tapped Christina Ricci and Parker Posey for starring roles in two of its comedy pilots as the network is looking to shake off the recent rough patch with a string of disappointing launches and focus on landing top talent for its next batch of potential series.
Ricci is finalizing a deal to play the lead in Girlfriend In A Coma, which centers on Karen (Ricci), a woman who was in a coma for many years and unexpectedly comes out of the coma to find she has a 17-year-old daughter. Posey is set as the female lead in the untitled DJ Nash comedy, about a son who idolizes his blind father and is bemused by his mother’s (Posey) newfound adolescence who watches his family come closer together post-divorce.
Girlfriend In A Coma is from Universal TV, Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius Dick Wolf; the DJ Nash project from Nash and exec producer Jason Bateman. Both are single-camera.
Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Continuing a mini-boom in Australian films tackling indigenous themes, Around the Block starts shooting in Sydney on Monday. Christina Ricci stars as an American drama teacher who reaches out to a troubled Aboriginal teenager. In the vein of Dangerous Minds, the film marks the feature debut of writer-director Sarah Spillane and is set in an inner-city during rioting by the Aboriginal residents. Hunter Page-Lochard, whose credits include The Sapphires (which The Weinstein Co acquired in Cannes), plays the teen who is pressured to take part in a revenge killing. Exec producer Jack Thompson also stars along with Damian Walshe-Howling. Producers are Spillane’s Kick Pictures and Brian Rosen and Su Armstrong’s Tree Films. Arclight has worldwide sales and Rosen tells Deadline the producers will apply for funding from the agencies Screen Australia and Screen NSW as well as using the 40% producer offset. Ricci is repped by ICM Partners.
Christina Ricci has joined the cast of Mother’s Day. The Pan Am actress joins Susan Sarandon and her real life daughter Eva Amurri Martino in the drama. Mother’s Day looks at the relationship between a dozen mothers and daughters. Mother’s Day is to be directed by Paul Duddridge, who also wrote the screenplay. Danielle James will produce. Ricci is repped by ICM.