Chloe Sevigny will be kept busy following the wrap of her HBO series Big Love. The actress is developing the miniseries Lizzie Borden about the infamous 19th century slayings.
The project is being set up as a two-part, four-hour miniseries, delving into the gruesome 1892 double-murder of Borden’s father and stepmother, and the subsequent trial. Borden, 32 at the time, was accused of killing them both with a hatchet.
The crime was highly sensationalized, even back then, spawning a grim rhyme written to sell newspapers, which would end up immortalizing her and the murders:
“Lizzie Borden took an axe / And gave her mother forty whacks / And when she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one”
Though Borden was later acquitted of the crime, the residents of her Massachusetts town (and beyond) forever scrutinized her purported innocence.
Sevigny has been described as the driving force behind the project, having been keen to make it happen since 2005, when the actress first visited the site of the slayings. Naturally, due to her working relationship with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone (the production company behind the series Big Love), the project first got pitched to them, and Playtone clearly liked what they saw. Hanks and Goetzman will serve as executive producers on the miniseries, while Sevigny is slotted to star and co-produce. In her producing capacity, Sevigny has also sought out little-known writer Bryce Kass to pen the script.
Initially, Sevigny made a name for herself in art house and indie films such as Kids, Dogville, Boys Don’t Cry and the somewhat notorious Vincent Gallo film, The Brown Bunny. However, in recent years she has brought her considerable talent to a more mainstream audience with her role in Big Love, David Fincher’s Zodiac and a guest spot on NBC’s Will Grace.
With Lizzie Borden, HBO and Playtone will look to continue their longstanding and very successful relationship with one another. Playtone has been behind some of the network’s most highly acclaimed miniseries like Band of Brothers and its pseudo-sequel The Pacific, as well as the Paul Giamatti U.S. history miniseries, John Adams.
At present, there has not been an announcement of further casting, or who is lined up to direct Lizzie Borden, so stay tuned, as those announcements will be forthcoming.