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Christina Ricci Takes a Whack at Lizzie Borden Role in Lifetime Movie; Ricci Displays Strong Acting Chops Despite Size

By Tony Sokol | January 23, 2014 10:20 AM EST


Christina Ricci will star as Lizzie Borden in the new Lifetime movie "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax."  The new Lizzie Borden movie will be broadcast on Saturday at 8 p.m. "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" tells the story of the 19th century Fall River, Mass., woman who was tried and acquitted for the ax-murder of her father and stepmother. Lizzie Borden has become part of pop culture because of that nursery rhyme.

Christina Ricci says "I've always been obsessed with true crime." 

Playing an ax-murder wasn't a very big stretch for the diminutive Ricci, "I'm very small (5-foot-1) but I'm surprisingly strong. Everyone was impressed with my ax-swinging skills - until I swung the ax backwards, and it was so big and heavy that I hit myself on the back of my spine. It made quite a horrendous sound. I didn't know my spine would sound hollow if you hit it with a big chunk of metal."

Lizzie Borden may never go away. Lizzie was acquitted in the courts, but Borden was convicted in the nursery rhyme. Lifetime network is going to revisit the Lizzie Borden story. Complete with axe.

"Lizzie Borden Took an Axe" is scheduled to premiere on Lifetime this weekend. "Lizzie Borden Took an Axe" stars Christina Ricci as Lizzie. Borden was accused of brutally murdering both her parents with an axe at the end of the 19th Century in New England.

Christina Ricci dove into the books to do her homework on the real Lizzie Borden.

Lizzie Borden was a native of Fall River, Massachusetts. Her biological mother died when she was just a toddler. Lizzie Borden's father Andrew married Abby Durfee Gray three years later. Andrew and Abby Borden raised Lizzie and her sister Emma. The Lizzie and Emma lived with their parents into adulthood. The Bordens seemed like a happy family, but according to reports, it was a dysfunctional home. Lizzie and her sister never completely accepted Abby Durfee Gray as their mother. The Borden sisters though she was only interested in their father's money.

According to reports Lizzie Borden found her father dead on a sofa on August 4, 1892. He had been killed with an axe while he was asleep. When the police searched the Borden residence they found Abby was also killed with an axe.
Lizzie Borden became the prime suspect because Emma was out of town during the killing. Borden denied having anything to do with the murder but authorities were concerned with her demeanor following the crime.

The executive producer of Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, Judith Verno, said she believes that how Lizzie acted such a violent crime showed guilt. She says "It's very hard to imagine that if you found your father dead, on the couch, that you would remain in the house... To me, the natural instinct would be to leave the house, because the killer's probably there... That she sat down and remained so calm was very telling."

The police also questioned why Lizzie burned a dress she was wearing that morning. Lizzie Borden said burned the dress because it was covered in paint. The cops though it might have been covered in blood. Lizzie was indicted for the murders. The trial gripped the nation in much the same way as the Jodi Arias trial does today. But there was little conclusive evidence. Borden was found not guilty.

Wednesday Addams took an axe.

Lifetime networks will unleash Chistina Ricci onto the role of Lizzie Borden in a biopic of the woman who was accused of murdering her parents in 1892.

The killing influenced a gruesome nursery rhyme, though the numbers were changed to fit the cadence. Andrew Borden was whacked only 10 times. Abby Borden, Lizzy's stepmother, sustained 19 blows from the axe. It was almost Jodi Arias trial of its time. The violence of the crime propelled the story into headlines across the country. Lizzie Andrew Borden was never convicted of the slaying. The case was never solved. Although she was ostracized in her home town, Lizzie returned to Fall River, Mass., after the trial and lived there until her death of pneumonia in 1927. The Borden house is a tourist attraction.

Christina Ricci has played in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Caspar and most recently the ABC quickie Pan Am, which lasted about a half a season last year. In 2006, Ricci was nominated for an Emmy for playing a paramedic on Grey's Anatomy. Elizabeth Montgomery, the witch Samantha from Bewitched, showered off the blood as Lizzy Borden in the 1975 TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden. In March 2011, HBO announced a Lizzy Borden miniseries that will star and be produced by Chloe Sevigny.

Christina Ricci says "She was a product of her time. Nobody would find her guilty because people weren't willing to accept that a woman was capable of this kind of crime."

Ricci plays Lizzie Borden with a sociopathic edge. She says "What I thought was interesting about playing this part was the question of, 'How does a person behave once they're accused of this in trying to convince everyone they're innocent?'

Lizzie and her sister Emma used their inheritance to buy a house where they lived together until they had a falling out. Emma and Lizzie Borden died days apart in June 1927.

Lizzie Borden Took an Axe premiers on Lifetime January 25. 

Tagged :  world news, lizzie borden, christina ricci, lifetime movie


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