Lifetime has given the green light to an original movie about the Menendez brothers murder case with Courtney Love (The People vs Larry Flynt) attached to star. The movie’s focus will reveal the extreme abuse the brothers endured at their father’s hands, while their mother looked the other way, according to the network. Love will play the mother, Kitty Menendez. Casting is currently underway for brothers Lyle and Erik.
This is the latest in a string of projects to focus on the infamous murder case in what has become the hottest true crime topic this year, following O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey last year. NBC is hoping to launch this fall its high-profile anthology series Law & Order: True Crime — The Menendez Murders, with Rene Balcer set as writer, executive producer and showrunner. In addition, ABC News premiered a two-hour documentary special earlier this month, Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers – American Sons, American Murderers; and HLN also premiered earlier this month its hourlong special, The Menendez Brothers: Murder In Beverly Hills The Aftermath.
Based on the true story, the movie, which does not yet have a title, explores the inner lives and motivation behind the murders of entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty at the hands of their sons Lyle and Erik in 1989. In the months that followed the murders, Lyle and Erik spent their inheritance lavishly, adding to investigators’ suspicions that they were involved in the parents’ deaths. After months of guilt consumed Erik, he confessed to the murders to his psychologist, leading to the eventual arrests of him and older brother Lyle.
Their trial became a national sensation as the public devoured court testimony and the brothers testified that the murders were driven by a lifetime of sexual abuse by their father. After a mistrial and deadlocked jury, the brothers were later re-tried and convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. Erik and Lyle remain in prison today, where they have been serving their time in separate prisons, nearly 30 years since murdering their parents.
RuPaul’s Drag Race producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato will direct from a script by Abdi Nazemian (The Quiet) and also executive produce. Production begins in February in Vancouver.
Love is repped by UTA.