Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny in Talks for Lizzie Borden Feature Film


It’s been 40 years since those of us old enough to remember the first broadcast of Paramount’s Made-for- TV movie, The Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Elizabeth Montgomery.  Ever since, we’ve been waiting for another feature length, theatrical release.   Recently, there was a fluttering of hopeful excitement concerning the prospect of an Indie film, Defending Lizzie, based on Karen Poulsen’s play – but that project is now on hold pending funding.

As of yesterday we have learned that there are “talks” and “negotiations” of a possible feature length film.  Let the speculative salivating begin.   You can read about it  HERE.   

But you can track the rapid fire news releases HERE, being sure to click “News” on the menu bar for all the latest reportings.

It is already getting funny. The script hasn’t even been written but the speculations are running amuck. This bit has Lizzie and Bridget being lovers- a plot line surely to draw the male audience demographic of 13 to 90. (snort, chuckle, snort).  I can see the promos now.



Like amoeba, the trending multiples begin and, like the whisper game, each reporting has a new smattering of embellishments, twists, misinformation and well….it’s a phriggin’ circus is what it is.

I say it’s best to keep your drool inside your mouth until the project has at least been green-lighted or contracts written.  It is one thing to be in negotiations or talks about a project and quite another for that project to be in pre-production.  I’ll keep a dry mouth until the latter commences.

Meanwhile, let’s ponder Chloe playing a modern day Lizzie…...


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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in TV


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Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals – Lizzie Borden?


My guess is that if there were a living bloodline relative of Lizzie or Emma Borden, Barbara Walters would be interviewing that person on Investigative Discovery’s new show, American Scandals”, produced by Lincoln Square Productions. The biggest and most popular branch of The Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery has many cousins, such as Deadly Women where our Miss Lizzie has been featured.

But Barbara’s fort’ is in the interview of the subject or those who are significantly relevant to the subject. So we have Kato Kaelin on OJ; John Ramsey on his son, Burke; Mark David Chapman on John Lennon and – well, you get the idea. (see article)

I have written to Lincoln Square Productions giving a special appeal they do an episode on the biggest and longest lasting American Scandal, Lizzie Borden. Barbara Walters does Lizzie Borden. Let that waft over your cerebellum for a moment. Of course, Babs would have to speak to Michael Martins and Dennis Binette because nobody, repeat nobody, knows Lizzie better than they do. As to the impact on contemporary times the episode would naturally draw in Donald Woods who would be a refreshingly new face. So I’m hoping, just hoping.

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast – Boston Herald Article

The Borden home on Second Street in Fall River, Mass., where the murders of Lizzie Borden's parents occurred, is now a bed and breakfast. (Donna Hageman/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The Borden home on Second Street in Fall River, Mass., where the murders of Lizzie Borden’s parents occurred, is now a bed and breakfast. (Donna Hageman/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

HERE is a very good article on the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast from the Boston Herald. The lack of current info on Maplecroft is what happens when reporters can’t get in touch with Kristee Bates. I’ve told her she needs to embrace those relationships because their reportings are all free publicity. I’ve had reporters contact me asking for her phone # to do interviews. I pass on the info to Kristee, but she is always too busy. Hope that changes.

The B&B is self-promoting and gets repeat business because of what happened there and the total experience for the guests. Maplecroft’s marketability is more a one time visit without an appeal to see again – because Lizzie only lived there the second half of her life – nothing significant really happened compared to 92 Second Street. Experiences from the two different structures are like going to Disneyland versus going to Walt Disney World.

Anyway, the more references now on the internet about Maplecroft opening up in the near future to the public will pay dividends later.


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There’s No One Like You, Lizzie Borden

Lizzie double shadow

It’s been over four years – so it’s time for this again.

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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in lizzie borden


August 4, 2015 – Lizzie in the Media

 Here’s the big story in the Fall River Herald News of the 123rd Anniversary of the Borden Murders.
 This article has a photo of two of the re-enactors on Maplecroft’s porch.  CLICK HERE.

Findings such as this show us Lizzie Borden as a flesh and blood, three dimensional 19th Century woman with feelings – instead of that iconic caricature of a post-pubescent maniacal sociopath wielding a bloody axe.

A rare collection of Lizzie Borden’s personal correspondence will be exhibited to the public for the

I’ll come up with a better quiz shortly.  This one was too easy.
Tuesday is the 123rd anniversary of the Borden murders. How well do you know your Lizzie Borden facts? Challenge your knowledge with our 10-question quiz.|By Herald News staff

As indicated a few days ago – here’s a restoration update. Kudos to Kristee!…/…/NEWS/150726398/0/breaking_ajax

Maplecroft, the mansion where Lizzie Borden lived after she was acquitted of murdering her parents, has been spiffed up just in time for the annual|By Deborah Allard

In the original Arrest Warrant for Lizzie Borden, prepared by Marshall Hilliard, she was accused only of the murder of her father. Her Indictment was, of course, for both the murder of her father and stepmother. The interesting thing here is that the “weapon” is named as a HATCHET. A hatchet. Not an axe. Not a sharp instrument. A hatchet.

This is the Arrest Warrant that the Marshall had in his hip pocket when he and Mayor Coughlin went to the Borden house on Saturday

See More

Lizzie Andrew Borden Chat Page's photo.

Stones on Lizzie’s headstone placed today by descendents of Helen Hirsch – of the 6,000 descendents of Schindler’s Jews. Well, I don’t know that, but having seen the film again recently it occurred to me what a quirky and charming thing that would be in the “Wonderful World of Lizzie.” As August 4th comes to a close on the east coast, I bid adieu. Say Goodnight, Gracie. (image swiped from Deborah Allard Dion FB page.

Lizzie Andrew Borden Chat Page's photo.
Once at this page, it’s fun to click on all the blue highlighted names.  Try it.

The Wonderful World of Lizzie

Lizzie double shadowImage from Fall River Historical Society

All satellites are beginning to orbit around “The Wonderful World of Lizzie.” All is in place for the annual re-enactment at the Lizzie Borden B&B, followed by the obligatory Maplecroft “porch pose” (site inspection done by director of Pear Essential Players today), followed by the laying of flowers at the Borden plot at Oak Grove Cemetery.

Other satellites already beaming GPS coordinates for the dozens of cruise-by vehicles on French Street while the Fall River Herald News photographer will capture exteriors of crowds and interiors of “actors” simulating the morning chaos of August 4, 1892 to appear on the front page of its August 5th edition.

The Fall River Historical Society is battening down the hatchets for one of their biggest days of the year and displaying  letters Lizzie wrote while incarcerated as well as prominent selections from their vast repository of Lizzie Borden artifacts and Trial evidence.


Satellite debris fallout in this Wonder World of Lizzie includes the regurgitation of Lizzie documentaries aired on TV, followed by all the blog posts, media mentions and newspaper write-ups commemorating this august day. (See what I just did there?)

Kristee Bates, Maplecroft owner, tells me she will NOT be allowing people inside no matter how loudly they knock, but it might be a tad difficult to turn away Utah license plates with a car full of wide eyed, salivating, and pathetically pleading individuals.

Our dear Lizzie, throughout all this annual hoopla, will remain in repose buried at her father’s feet. Andrew’s bony skeleton arms cross his chest where a singular high school ring (a gift from Lizzie) dangles from his finger. We might consider it a testament to his love for her if it weren’t for that sudden jerk of his foot that kicks Lizzie in the head at the stroke of 11:00 am each and every 4th of August.


Defending Lizzie – New Indie Film


Well, here it is folks – what we’ve all been waiting for— A feature length independent film of the Borden story with a terrific script, acted by age-appropriate actors, directed by a talented director with a passion for the case, and, for the very first time – wait for it —— filmed inside the actual house where the murders took place.

The “Defending Lizzie” official website with full history, can be found HERE.

“Defending Lizzie” is based on the screenplay co-written by author Karen Poulsen and Jerry Orzel,  and adapted from  Ms. Poulsen’s play of the same name.  Ms. Poulsen’s play is one of the most authentic I have ever read and yet has at its foundation a most believable Lizzie under pre-murder circumstances.   The play is a compelling read and quite thrilling.   All characters are carefully crafted from her significant research and the screenplay has maintained authenticity of character, dialog, and plot trajectories.  Further, unlike other productions, the story takes on factual occurrences often ignored or portrayed with gross inaccuracies.

This project has recently gained the partnership of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum  and we are all grateful to Lee-ann Wilber, General Manager, and Donald Woods, owner, for recognizing and giving support to this exciting endeavor.  The “Wonderful World of Lizzie” and all its orbiting satellites will benefit with the production of this film.  (I’m encouraging the new owner of Maplecroft, my friend, Kristee Bates, to allow some special filming of the interior which would be – you got it – another new FIRST!).

Mr. Borden 6Andrew Borden


Abby 4 Family 1 Bridget 3 Dr Bowen 1 Emma 1 Piece & Emma 1 Jennings 3 Jennings & Lizzie 1  Mrs. & Mrs Borden 1 Officer Desmond & Lizzie 1

Because this is an independent film with limited financial resources, a fundraising campaign is being launched on August 4th.   Primary funding will be used for transportation, housing and feeding of cast and crew to film on location.  The film is scheduled to be released in summer  2016.  You can help make this project achieve its destiny by contributing and I will post the link above under “Important Links” when it goes live.

Below is my interview with Jerry Orzel, the Director and co-writer.

Tell us briefly about your background as a filmmaker.

My first endeavor into film was “Revelation 22:22” which was a full feature
zombie film that I made fresh out of college. I wrote and directed a commercial
for a Holiday Inn Express contest that won the People’s Choice award.
I’ve been a freelance videographer / editor for the passed 15 years, and I’m
currently a media producer with the Volusia County School District.

What drew you to Lizzie and why Karen Poulsen’s play?

Karen’s play was well received by the audience and theatre
community. It was designed for minimal scenery, although it took place
in several locations. The characters were compelling and complex. She told the
story in a unique way that I instantly knew it had the perfect foundation for a
movie. The amount of research Karen has done over the past 30 plus years,
shows in the details of the script.

What will be your biggest challenges in filming “Defending Lizzie”?

Locations and wardrobe will be the most challenging, we don’t have the backing
of a large studio and we don’t have all the resources of a big budget production
has, but what I do have is a clever and resourceful wardrobe team lead by Ida
Bailey. She, along with Tosha Williams, made dresses by hand, altered items, and
used their connections with community theaters, assisted in wardrobe for the
trailer. Locations on the other hand have been challenging and fun. I had the
pleasure of getting into some really great places and talking to the owners. Our goal
is to shoot on location in the Lizzie Borden B&B, and use Fall River itself as a
backdrop for Defending Lizzie. Using the B&B along with other locations in Fall
River would add the production value that other movies lack. We would be the
first movie about Lizzie Borden to use the actual house. To me that in itself
would be a huge accomplishment as a filmmaker.

It’s been said the film is 80% factual an 20% artistic license or conjecture. Can you
describe what that 20% is?

Not every detail from Lizzie’s life is documented. To get from one historical fact
to the next we used a little artist license, even within the 20% we took has some
facts. One or two characters were combined into one.  In doing this we are able
to keep production cost low, and still keep historic elements in the movie. We
created scenes between characters that may not have actually happened but
what they discuss is important to the story and it’s characters.

Which film festivals are you planning to submit Defending Lizzie?

Right now I’m currently just focused on getting the funding needed to get the
movie shot. I’ll submit Defending Lizzie to as many film festivals as I can, and
attend as many of those as I can. It’s fun to watch the audience watch the
movie, you get to see how they react to it, and as a film maker I get see what
works and what didn’t.

Will you be showcasing the film to special groups?

When we get Defending Lizzie done, I would like to hold 2 screenings prior to
hitting the film festivals. One in central Florida around where the cast and crew,
are located, and one in Fall River. I feel it is important to give the community a
chance to see how much of an impact they had in helping make Defending

Will your film be available on DVD for purchase and if so, when?

It depends if it gets picked up by a distributor, There is the possibility of it being
available thought VOD (Video On Demand) I know Netflix has an independent
division; Redbox, or we’ll self-distribute it ourselves thought Amazon, eBay and
the movie website. Somehow, some way it will be made available.

Can you elaborate on how your fund raising campaign will support this project?

Our Indiegogo campaign launches on August 4th on the 123rd anniversary of the
Borden murders. All funds will go directly into producing Defending Lizzie. We
have a “bare bones” budget, that will able us to shoot 90% of the movie in
Florida, and just get exterior shots of a few locations in Fall River. If we are lucky
enough to get the full amount needed, we would spend about 16 days of
production in Fall River. The budget is as big as it is because that’s what is costs
to make this type of movie. The fact that we are paying our cast and crew,
separates us from other independent films. I strongly believe in compensating
everyone that is working on this production. They have a talent whether it’s in
front of the camera or behind, and without them we have no movie.

Aside from Lizzie, who do you consider the most compelling character in the Borden case?

Andrew Borden.  It is interesting to me that a man would build himself up from
basically nothing, and become a successful business man then live as frugal as
he did. I can understand not wanting a flashy lifestyle, but not to even have
indoor plumbing is really penny-pinching.

What would you like to say about the film or the Borden case given this

Defending Lizzie will be in a class all of its own when it comes to telling the
Lizzie Borden story.  At its heart, it’s a murder mystery and the Borden case
could not be a better story to tell.  Defending Lizzie will be what movies used to
be like, a story is driven by characters, an interesting plot, and of course –

Do you think Lizzie was guilty?

Not sure, I’m on the fence with that. I know that as the director, I want to show
Lizzie had another side. She has always been portrayed as a heartless, selfish, little brat. There is another side of Lizzie, a side of her that other movies
haven’t shown, a side that will make you feel sorry for her if she truly is
innocent of the murders. Lizzie, in this story, is walking a fine line between being
innocent and guilty

Defending Lizzie – Finally, a  feature length, theatrical movie – – –  filmed in the right place.




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