Lifetime to film movie on Gabby Petito murder case in Utah
May 6, 2022, 1:18 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:26 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Lifetime announced plans to film a movie in Utah based on the murder case of Gabby Petito, whose death and disappearance received nationwide attention last year.
Lifetime says “The Gabby Petito Story” will be made as part of their Stop Violence Against Women public affairs initiative. Filming is scheduled to begin in Utah this summer with the movie’s premiere scheduled for later this year.
The network says the movie “will explore Gabby and her fiancé Brian Laundrie’s complicated relationship and what may have gone wrong during their cross-country trip that resulted in Gabby’s tragic murder.”
“As the one-year anniversary of her tragic death approaches, the movie will bring to life Gabby and Brian’s doomed love story, including the warning signs that Gabby’s life was in danger, the ensuing search for her, the eventual discovery of her murder and ultimately, Brian’s (death by) suicide,” read a press release from Lifetime.
Gabby Petito murder case
Petito was reported missing in September after she was seen traveling through Utah and Wyoming. Laundrie and Petito had been traveling across the country in a van since early July.
Petito’s body was found on Sept. 19 near Grand Teton National Park, and her disappearance and the subsequent search for Laundrie attracted national attention.
The FBI said Laundrie wrote he was responsible for Petito’s death in his notebook, and a Florida medical examiner confirmed Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
READ MORE of KSL TV’s extensive coverage of the investigation here
FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said the bureau’s investigation did not identify any other individuals involved in Petito’s death.
A lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabby Petito that claims Brian Laundrie told his parents he had killed Petito when he returned home alone from their trip will head to trial in 2023.
The Laundries had filed a motion to dismiss the case, but a Florida judge ruled in favor of the Petito family.
Lifetime says Emmy-nominated actress Thora Birch (“The Walking Dead,” “American Beauty,” and “Ghost World”) has signed on to make her directorial debut in this film and play Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt.
The film will be written by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney.
Additional movies surrounding violence against women who may not have had the same media attention as Petito are also in development, Lifetime said, including Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, Adriane Fields and Beatrice Weston.
Film’s announcement receives backlash
NBC News says the film’s announcement has already received backlash on social media.
“That poor girl isn’t dead a year and this already…..Too soon…,” one person commented on a Facebook post with the announcement.
How about no? Gabby hasn’t even been dead for that long and people are jumping at the chance to profit off it? https://t.co/BUBoZAlDOc
— YellowMeansHappy (@yellow_means) May 5, 2022
In a separate Facebook post about the movie, another person commented: “I just don’t understand. Isn’t there anything else we can make movies out of, besides other peoples tragedy. I can’t imagine being a family member and appreciating all of that. Ridiculous.”