10:18am PT by Kate Stanhope
'The Originals' Star Tapped to Play Robert Durst in Lifetime Movie
Lifetime has found its Robert Durst.
The Originals star Daniel Gillies will play the real estate heir and suspected killer in the cable network's upcoming movie, The Lost Wife of Robert Durst, with Katharine McPhee set to play Durst's first wife, Kathie, who disappeared in 1982.
Based on investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck's book A Deadly Secret: The Strange Disappearance of Kathie Durst, the movie focuses on the young and wide-eyed Kathie (McPhee), who weds the charming yet quirky real estate scion Robert Durst (Gillies) only to find their marriage becoming stranger, darker and more disturbing with time. The film dives deep into the world of Robert Durst and explores what may have happened between him and Kathie.
Lifetime has been working on a potential Durst movie since last summer when it optioned another one of Birkbeck's books, A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst, a year after Durst was the subject of the acclaimed 2015 HBO docuseries The Jinx.
That series, which featured a rare interview with Durst, looked into not only the disappearance of Kathie but also the unsolved 2000 murder of Durst's friend Susan Berman and the 2001 death of Durst's neighbor in Texas, Morris Black.
Emmy winner Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) will direct from a script penned by Bettina Gilois (Bessie). Lincoln Square Productions’ Linda Berman (Madoff) and Rudy Bednar (Final Witness) will exec produce. Filming begins this month in Vancouver.
Gillies follows in the footsteps of Ryan Gosling, who portrayed a Durst-like character in the 2009 film All Good Things, with Kirsten Dunst in the role seemingly inspired by Kathie. In addition to his starring role on The Originals, Gillies' other credits include Saving Hope and The Vampire Diaries.
McPhee, who is currently starring on CBS' Scorpion, is also known for her roles in The House Bunny and Smash.