Lifetime greenlights Girl in the Basement for the network’s Ripped from the Headlines slate, inspired by actual events of a young woman imprisoned in her family home. Girl in the Basement stars Stefanie Scott (Insidious: The Last Key, Beautiful Boy, Good Girls Get High) as Sara Cody, Judd Nelson (St. Elmo’s Fire, The Breakfast Club, Empire) as her father Don and Joely Fisher (9-1-1, Station 19, Growing Up Fisher) as her mother Irene. Under the Broader Focus initiative, Lifetime reunites with Elisabeth Röhm who is making her directorial debut with this film, and executive producer Manu Boyer who directed Röhm in last year’s Family Pictures movie, based on the novel of the same name. Röhm will also make a cameo in the movie. Produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl for Lifetime, Girl in the Basement will debut in 2021.
“We believe in Elisabeth and know her craft as an actress will be invaluable as she steps behind the camera to direct,” said Tanya Lopez, EVP Movies, Limited Series and Original Movie Acquisitions, Lifetime & LMN. “Elisabeth’s passion and commitment will bring out incredible performances from Stefanie, Judd and Joely for this extremely shocking story.”
“I am profoundly impressed with Lifetime for making this brave movie. As I step behind the camera for the first time, I am beyond grateful and indebted to Tanya Lopez for being my champion and making this moment in my life possible. Thanks to Sebastian Dungan who developed the project and believed in the story from the start. I am profoundly grateful to my creative EP Manu Boyer for guiding me as a first-time director and sharing in our third movie collaboration. I am humbled by the support of my Lifetime family for pushing me to this next step in my career,” said Elisabeth Röhm.
“I love working with Elisabeth. I loved directing her as an actress and I am very happy to guide her through her first steps as a director and continue this great creative collaboration,” said Manu Boyer.
Inspired by actual events, Girl in the Basement is the horrific story of Sara (Stefanie Scott), a vibrant teen girl who was looking forward to her 18th birthday so she could move away from her controlling father Don (Judd Nelson). But before she could ever blow out the candles, her world became extremely dark after Don imprisons her in the basement of their home. While Don tries to convince wife Irene (Joely Fisher) that Sara ran away, he would secretly visit her in the basement to torture and rape her while Irene and her sister Amy (Emily Topper) continued living upstairs. As the years pass, Sara gives birth to several children, alone in the basement. Don eventually brings up their youngest son, leaving him on the doorstep for Irene to find with a note from Sara saying that was her son and she couldn’t care for him, leaving Irene to finally accept Don’s claims about Sara. After decades of captivity, Sara finally escapes, and her family learns the devastating truth about what had been going on for over 20 years right beneath their feet.
Girl in the Basement is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl for Lifetime. Leslie Greif, Manu Boyer and Barbara Marshall, who also wrote the script, executive produce the movie while Elisabeth Röhm directs. Jessica Bahowick co-produces. Producers are Eric Tomosunas, Alex Kerr and Ron Robinson.
The network’s 2020 Ripped from the Headlines slate of Stolen By My Mother: The Kamiyah Mobley Story, Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer, Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story, Neighbor in the Window, and You Can’t Take My Daughter reached more than 25 million viewers total viewers, from January – April on Lifetime & LMN. Lifetime also recently announced a development deal with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos for two Ripped from the Headlines movies.
About Broader Focus
The Broader Focus™ initiative from Lifetime® is dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers. Lifetime believes that the best creative product will be achieved when diverse voices are creating the media images we consume. While women continue to be extremely underrepresented in all behind-the-scenes roles, Lifetime is leading the entertainment industry by hiring women for these vital positions.
Celebrating over 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women, dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, breakout non-fiction series and documentaries. Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as Stop Breast Cancer for Life, Stop Violence Against Women and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.