Sundance: Chloe Sevigny-Kristen Stewart Drama 'Lizzie' Nabbed by Saban Films, Roadside Attractions

Courtesy of Sundance Institute
'Lizzie'

The racy period film explores the famed murderess Lizzie Borden, who stood accused of killing her parents.

In a competitive situation, Saban Films has acquired North American rights to Craig William Macneill's Lizzie, which stars Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don't Cry) as the renowned accused murderess Lizzie Borden and Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga) as her unlikely lover.

Saban Films is partnering with Roadside Attractions for a theatrical release this summer.

Written by Bryce Kass and based on the unsolved, much speculated murders of the Borden parents, Lizzie explores the inner workings of the household leading up to the murders and their immediate aftermath and reveals many layers of the strange, fragile woman who stood accused of the brutal crime. As an unmarried woman of 32, Lizzie (Sevigny) is a social outcast trapped under her father's austere control. When Bridget Sullivan (Stewart), a young maid desperate for work, comes to live with the family, Lizzie finds a sympathetic, kindred spirit and a chance intimacy that blossoms into a wicked plan and a dark, unsettling end.

The racy period drama had its world premiere on Jan. 19 in the festival's U.S. Dramatic Competition section. It was produced by Sevigny, Naomi Despres and Liz Destro and executive produced by Elizabeth Stillwell, Roxanne Fie Anderson and Edward J. Anderson of Powder Hound Pictures.

"I couldn't be happier than to partner with Saban Films and Roadside on Lizzie, a film that has been a labor of love for me for over 10 years," Sevigny said. "I am thrilled for theatergoers to see this incredible tale."

THR's review called the film "elegantly lurid but compelling [with] Sevigny in her best form in the title role" and a version "befitting of the #MeToo generation."

Kim Dickens (Gone Girl, Fear the Walking Dead), Denis O'Hare (Dallas Buyers Club, American Horror Story), Jeff Perry (Scandal), Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter) and Jamey Sheridan (Spotlight, Homeland) round out the cast.

"Chloe and Kristen are two of the most esteemed actresses of our time," Saban Films' Bill Bromiley said. "Their performances in Lizzie are evocative and gripping, and we're proud to be championing this film."

Added Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff: "Chloe and Kristen make these roles their own, and they slay in every sense of the word. Craig delivered a tense period thriller, and we are excited to partner with our friends at Saban as we bring audiences Lizzie later this year."

Saban Films and Roadside Attractions previously teamed on Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman, starring Hilary Swank, and the Tom Hanks starrer A Hologram for the King.

Ness Saban and Jonathan Saba negotiated the deal on behalf of Saban Films, with Endeavor Content and Gersh, who represented the filmmakers.