Image: Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny courtesy of Saban Films and Roadside Attractions
The true story of alleged axe murderer Lizzie Borden is one of America’s best known murder mysteries and now the tale comes to cinemas in Lizzie starring Chloë Sevigny as Borden and Kristen Stewart as Bridget Sullivan, the housemaid she falls for.
Lizzie was the lead suspect in the murders of her father Andrew and step-mother Abby in Fall River Massachusetts in 1892. She was tried and eventually acquitted of the crimes, spending the rest of her life living off a sizable inheritance she shared with her sister.
Rumors of Lizzie's lesbianism started in her later life and Bridget is said to have confessed to her sister that her testimony at the trial was designed to protect Lizzie. In his 1984 book Lizzie, mystery writer Ed McBain speculated that Lizzie's step mother caught her with Bridget and that led to the murders of both parents.
Sevigny has been working to get this story to the screen for over a decade, first as a mini-series for HBO and later as a feature film, always with the intent of exploring Lizzie's psychology and motivation for the murders.
“So much has been said (about Borden). But I think that we just really wanted to focus on how she went about finding (her freedom) and how important that was to her and what that meant to her,” Sevigny told the HuffPost earlier this year.
“Whether it was through the relationship with (her maid) or ultimately killing her parents for money ― because money equaled freedom then. It still does. I wanted it to be this rousing, smash-the-patriarchy piece."
Lizzie comes to select American cinemas in September and UK theatres in November. The Australian release date has not been set.