Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart will help tell the tale of Lizzie Borden.
Pieter Van Hees, who helmed the 2014 film Waste Land, will direct the new untitled psychological thriller about the grisly murders of the Borden family. Bryce Kass will write the script.
Sevigny will play Borden, the strange and fragile woman who was infamously tried and acquitted for murdering her father and stepmother with an ax in 1892. The film will explore the events that led up to that night.
Stewart, who is in early negotiations, will play the Bordens’ live-in maid, Bridget Sullivan. Sullivan was a witness to the family tension, and may have been in the home when the murders were committed. She testified at the trial.
The crime was salacious and notorious for the age, inspiring children’s rhymes such as: “Lizzie Borden took an ax/and gave her mother 40 whacks/when the job was finally done/gave her father 41.” It also spawned many theories about who committed the murders and why; one theory insinuates that Borden and Sullivan were lovers.
Naomi Despres (Kill the Messenger) is producing, while Playtone is executive producing. The Solution is selling the project, which has no start date, at the upcoming American Film Market. WME is repping domestically.
Borden’s tale has been adapted for TV and film, most recently the 2014 TV movie starring Christina Ricci.
Sevigny, who was previously attached to a Lizzie Borden project at HBO, starred on FX’sAmerican Horror Story: Asylum and American Horror Story: Hotel. She won a Golden Globe for best supporting actress for her work on HBO’s Big Love, and her other credits include Bloodline,Portlandia and the film Electric Slide. She’s repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment.
Since Twilight, Stewart has focused on indie fare, including Equals, the Drake Doremus film that premiered at Venice and then Toronto. Among her other recent credits are American Ultra, Still Alice and Clouds of Sils Maria, for which she received a Cesar award (France’s equivalent for the Oscar). She has a slew of projects coming up including a Woody Allen film and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee. She’s repped by Gersh and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.