Production has begun on I Am Elizabeth Smart, Lifetime’s authorized original movie about the harrowing 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, who serves as producer and narrator on the project. Announced during Lifetime’s March upfront, the film will air later this year as part of a cross-network event along with A&E Network’s new two-part Biography nonfiction special, Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography (working title).
The movie, told from Smart’s perspective and with her full participation, marks the 15-year anniversary of her abduction. UK actress Alana Bolden (Ride) will play the title role; Skeet Ulrich (Riverdale, Jericho) will portray Brian David Mitchell, Smart’s kidnapper and captor for nine months; and Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist, The Wire) is co-conspirator Wanda Barzee.
In June 2002, Elizabeth Ann Smart was a naïve 14-year-old girl when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City bedroom by religious fanatic Mitchell. He brought her to a hilly encampment where he and his twisted accomplice Barzee held Elizabeth captive. She was starved, drugged, raped and subjected to bizarre religious rituals until, nine months later, she enabled her own rescue. In this film, Smart herself, as a producer and on-screen narrator, explores how she survived and confronts the truths and misconceptions about her captivity.
In the two-part Biography special, Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography, Smart, now 29, provides previously untold details of her abduction and nine months in captivity, and shares the perspective she’s gained on the agonizing ordeal. Elizabeth, her close family, law enforcement and eyewitnesses reveal new information about the harrowing abduction that galvanized the attention of a nation – as well as her remarkable recovery, marriage, motherhood and advocacy on behalf of victims.
I Am Elizabeth Smart is executive produced by Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Joan Harrison of Asylum Entertainment and Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed of Marwar Junction Productions. Barbara Lieberman and Tom Patricia also executive produce the movie, with Smart serving as producer. Sarah Walker directs from a teleplay by Tory Walker.
Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography is produced by Asylum Entertainment in association with Marwar Junction Productions. Executive producers for Asylum Entertainment are Steve Michaels and Jonathan Koch along with David Michaels, and executive producers for Marwar Junction are Allison Berkley and Joseph Freed. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky and Brad Abramson.
A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for I Am Elizabeth Smart and Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography.
Boden’s credits include ITV’s Mr Selfridge, BBC’s Wolfblood and AMC’s Humans. She’s repped by Steve Kavovit at Thruline and Robin Hudson at Olivia Bell.
Ulrich, repped by Luber Roklin and Paradigm, can be seen on the CW’s Riverdale and previously recurred on Unforgettable. The Wire alum Lovejoy recurs on The Blacklist and recently guest-starred on Elementary.