Actress Christina Ricci has made a career from playing gothy characters, like Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, over the years and today we learn that she has signed on to play the infamous Lizzie Borden in a made-for-TV movie for Lifetime TV. Lizzie Borden, as we all learned from our childhood playground rhymes, was a young woman accused of murdering her parents with an ax. If memory serves, the rhyme goes: “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.” What hasn’t been common knowledge is that Borden was acquitted of the murder of her parents so … essentially, she was an innocent woman who is forever remembered as an ax murderer. To this day, her infamy lives on … and I suspect, will be rejuvenated with this new Lifetime TV movie.
Christina Ricci will play the infamous Lizzie Borden in a new television movie for Lifetime. Massachusetts native Borden became a figure of intense media scrutiny in 1892 when she was put on trial for the murder by axe of her father and stepmother. She was later acquitted of the crimes, which were never solved. There have been several projects based on Borden’s life. An HBO series starring Chloe Sevigny as Borden was in development in 2011. The 33-year-old Ricci is known for a career spanning both child and adult film roles, including those in The Addams Family and Monster. Recently, she has been dabbling in television work with parts in Pan Am and The Good Wife. She will next be seen on the big screen in The Smurfs 2.
I have always been fascinated with the Lizzie Borden story. I grew up thinking her a cold ax murderer and when I eventually learned that she was innocent of the crime, I still held in my mind the image of a young woman who murdered her parents with an ax. Even when proven innocent, reputations can be ruined forever. I love Ricci’s work and I think she will make an excellent Lizzie Borden. I doubt that this movie will do much to dispel the image of Borden as a killer but at least she will have her story told, hopefully, in a truthful manner. It’s so interesting to see how Lizzie’s infamy grew to mythic proportions. I guess you never really know what parts of popular culture live on to become larger than life … and for all time.