Lifetime to premiere film on Elizabeth Smart kidnapping
Salt Lake City -- Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart is pleased with how a Lifetime movie and documentary she helped produce about her harrowing ordeal turned out. But she said her visit to the movie set brought back terrible memories when she saw actor Skeet Ulrich looking so similar to the man who abducted her.
The upcoming film titled “I Am Elizabeth Smart” follows the nine months after Smart, then 14, was kidnapped by Brian Mitchell from her bedroom in her Salt Lake City home in 2002 and was raped daily by her captor, the Deseret News reported.
Police finally found her in Sandy, Utah, with the help of two couples who recognized Mitchell from media reports as a suspect in Smart’s kidnapping.
Mitchell was convicted and is serving a life sentence for the crime.
The movie features newcomer Alana Boden as Smart, Deirdre Lovejoy — who portrays Mitchell’s estranged wife Wanda Barzee, who aided in the kidnapping — and Ulrich as Mitchell.
The movie will premiere Saturday.
Smart was on the set for part of the filming, narrated the movie and gave feedback to executive producers Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley.
She especially wanted to help them find a balance between keeping the integrity of her gruesome experience and not being too graphic.
“Certainly a lot of very bad things happen, and I thought, ‘How could you possibly show that without it either coming off as dark and terrible and give you nightmares at night,’ or sugar-coating everything and making it seem like, ‘Oh, this terrible thing happened, but it really wasn’t that bad, and then a miracle happened?’ ” she said.
While she enjoyed meeting the actors, Smart said in an interview with the Deseret News that she felt uncomfortable when they asked her to take a photo with them.
“It was just this weird experience because I was sitting there like, ‘They’re lovely people, but I don’t know if I should smile because they don’t look like lovely people,’ ” she said. “They look like my worst nightmare.”
A two-part documentary titled “Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography,” in which Smart shares more details about the horrific situation she survived, her rescue and what her life is like now, will premiere on A&E Saturday and Sunday.
‘I Am Elizabeth Smart’
8 p.m. Saturday