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Britney Spears isn’t the only one getting a Lifetime movie this year; the Made-For-T.V. magnate will be making a movie focusing on the Menendez Brothers trial of the early 90s. The infamous Courtney Love is set to star as Kitty Menendez, the mother of Lyle and Erik.
The Menendez case is so incredibly sordid that it makes original Lifetime movies seem muted and subtle. Jose Enrique Menendez was Cuban immigrant who became a successful movie executive in Los Angeles. He married Mary Louise ‘Kitty’ Anderson and they had two sons, Erik and Lyle. In August of 1989, murdered both their parents. They attempted to make it look as if organized crime were involved by shooting both parents in the kneecap. The brothers then proceeded to dump the guns off of Mulholland Drive then went to see a movie and attended a wine festival to solidify their alibis.
Lyle and Erik spent their inheritance lavishly, and further garnered suspicion due to their excessive spending. Erik eventually succumbed to guilt and confessed the murders to his psychologist. Lyle threatened the psychologist and thusly voided his the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement. The video-tapes that held Erik’s confession was admitted in court.
What followed was a high-profile and dramatic trial in 1993. The brothers claimed that their father had sexually abused them for years, information which their defense lawyer, Leslie Abramson, used to paint a tragic portrait of the brothers lives at the hands of their supposedly callous, perverted, cruel, and abusive parents. Despite the flamboyant line of defense, a jury eventually decided to convict the brothers of murder, believing that the motive was based on inheritance rather than fear.
The Mendendez brothers have been enjoying a resurgence in pop culture. No doubt due in part to the immense success of American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson. NBC also revisited the Jonbenet Ramsey case on a Dateline special which posited that the real murderer was actually her brother in a fit of childish rage. Audiences can’t help but be fascinated by the ghastly high profile cases of the rich and famous and delight in having the opportunity to revisit the scandalous details not previously available to the public. The Mendendez brothers are no exception.
Recently, ABC news aired a two-hour special, Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers-American, Sons, American Murderers. NBC is expecting to launch its true crime anthologies series in the fall, Law and Order: True Crime-The Menendez Murders, kicking off what it hopes to be the first of a successful installment of true crime storytelling. HLN, the network formerly known as Headline News and current home to the sometimes ferocious and always opinionated Nancy Grace, premiered an hourlong special earlier this month, The Menendez Brothers: Murder In Beverly Hills, The Aftermath.
The Lifetime movie will allegedly base the plot on the extreme cases of alleged abuse Lyle and Erik faced at the hands of their father while their mother, hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol, looked the other way. A more perfect casting choice than Courtney Love couldn’t possibly exist for the role of Kitty. No word yet on who will be cast as Erik and Lyle; perhaps Nic Cage and Eric Roberts?
Shooting begins next month in Vancouver. The film will be directed by Ru Paul’s Drag Race producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato and written by Abdi Nazemian, who wrote The Quiet.