Actress Chloe Sevigny has been working on adapting the biographical tale of the infamous accused Falls River, Massachusetts ax murderess Lizzie Borden since 2010 with screenwriter Bryce Kass, first as a four-hour miniseries with Playtone at HBO and now it has finally come through as a feature length movie for Roadside Attractions titled “Lizzie”.
Set in 1892, “Lizzie” follows the notorious would-be axe murderess Lizzie Borden (Sevigny), who was accused and acquitted of killing her father and stepmother in Fall River, Mass. Kristen Stewart co-stars as Bridget Sullivan, an Irish maid who comes to live with the Borden family and secretly develops an intimate relationship with Lizzie.
The thriller also features Fiona Shaw as Lizzie’s stepmother, Abby Borden; Jamey Sheridan as Lizzie’s father, Andrew Borden; and Kim Dickens as Lizzie’s sister, Emma Borden. Denis O’Hare, Jeff Perry, and Jay Huguley also star.
Billed as a “re-imagining” there has never been any real proof that Lizzie Borden was a lesbian.
Mystery author Ed McBain, in his 1984 novel Lizzie, suggested that Lizzie committed the murders after being caught in a lesbian tryst with Bridget. McBain elaborated on his theory in a 1999 interview, speculating that Abby had caught Lizzie and Bridget together and had reacted with horror and disgust, and that Lizzie had killed Abby with a candlestick. When Andrew returned she had confessed to him, but killed him in a rage with a hatchet when he reacted exactly as Abby had. McBain further speculates that Bridget disposed of the hatchet somewhere afterwards. In her later years, Lizzie had been rumored to be a lesbian, but there was no such speculation about Bridget, who found other employment after the murders and later married a man. Bridget allegedly gave a deathbed confession to her sister, stating that she had changed her testimony on the stand in order to protect Lizzie.
“Lizzie” opens in select theaters on September 14th.