'Justified' Actor Nick Searcy to Direct 'Gosnell' Abortion Movie (Exclusive)

Nick Searcy - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Nick Searcy - H 2015

The independent feature film will tell of the gruesome crimes committed by convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell, a movie about an infamous abortion doctor convicted of murder that is being financed via a crowdfunding campaign, has hired, as its director, Nick Searcy.

The actor is best known for his role as chief deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen in Justified, now in its sixth and final season on FX.

Gosnell has raised $2.3 million at Indiegogo, more than any other movie at the crowdfunding site. Originally planned as a TV movie, producers Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda now say it will be a theatrical release.

Executive producing is John Sullivan, who co-directed Dinesh D’Souza’s two documentary films, America and 2016: Obama’s America. Gosnell is being written by Andrew Klavan, whose novel True Crime was made into a movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Gosnell is a crime drama — not a documentary — about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who for decades ran a seedy abortion clinic in Philadelphia. A 280-page report from the Grand Jury describes how Gosnell charged various prices for late-term abortions depending on how much pain his patients were willing to endure and how white women were afforded cleaner conditions than were minority women.

The report, details of which will be used by Klavan while crafting his script, alleges Gosnell killed hundreds of infants by sticking scissors into their necks, though he was convicted two years ago on only three counts of murder as well as one count of manslaughter for the death of a 41-year-old patient. The 74-year-old former doctor is serving a life sentence in prison.

Also part of the story that Searcy, Klavan and the other filmmakers plan to tell is what some have likened to a press cover-up of Gosnell’s brutality. Journalist Megan McArdle, for example, wrote a mea culpa in 2013 published in the Daily Beast titled: “Why I didn’t write about Gosnell’s trial — and why I should have.” The article included a photo of rows of empty courtroom benches that had been reserved for the press.

“There are three aspects to this story that are fascinating,” said Searcy. “What happened; why it was allowed to happen; and why no one wanted to talk about it after it happened.”

Searcy, who has appeared in such films as Moneyball, Cast Away and Fried Green Tomatoes, actually made his directorial debut in 1997 with a low-budget feature called Paradise Falls. While a hit at several film festivals back then, a distribution deal was struck only recently and it will be released this year under a new title: Carolina Low.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to have a part in bringing this important American story to the screen,” Searcy said of Gosnell. “It is a story that many in Hollywood were unwilling to tell, and I am grateful to Ann, Phelim and Magdalena for having the courage to tell it.”

Searcy is represented by APA, Haven Entertainment and Morris Yorn.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com