Lifetime is moving forward with The Michelle Knight Story (working title), an original movie about the ordeal of the 21-year-old Ohio single mom who becomes the first victim of kidnapper Ariel Castro. Major CrimesRaymond Cruz has been cast as Castro in the movie, from Sony Pictures TV, which has received a formal greenlight.

michelleknightWritten by Stephen Tolkin, The Michelle Knight Story explores the true story of Knight, whose life was forever changed by a chance encounter with Castro who abducted her on August 22, 2002, in Cleveland and held her as his prisoner in his home for more than 11 years. Finding strength through her faith in God and determined to be reunited with her son, Knight refused to be broken by Castro. He went on to abduct two teenagers, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, and hold them in captivity alongside Michelle, who became a friend and sister to her fellow prisoners.

When Amanda became pregnant with Castro’s child, it was Michelle Knight who delivered her baby, even performing CPR on the infant girl under the threat of Castro while he told her, “If the baby dies, you die.”

Michelle and Gina ultimately were rescued because of a daring escape attempt on May 6, 2013. With the help of a neighbor, Amanda broke out of the barricaded front door with her 6-year-old daughter, allowing all three women to finally reclaim their lives.

Judith Verno and Frank Von Zerneck executive produce.

Cruz, repped by Raphael Berko of Media Artists Group, co-stars on the TNT series Major Crimes as Detective Sanchez, a role he originated on the network’s long-running drama  The Closer. Additionally, he is known for playing ruthless and psychotic meth dealer Tuco on Breaking Bad, also produced by Sony TV.