Image Credit: Everett Collection
Only one woman in history has inspired a production at London’s Royal Opera House, a truly awful direct-to-DVD biopic, and an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent: pioneering train wreck Anna Nicole Smith.
Even five years after her death, something about Smith still fascinates a certain subset of the public. Perhaps it’s because her rags-to-riches-to-overdose story seems simple, but boasts plenty of weird wrinkles: Smith was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe before it became trendy. Her relationship with billionaire J. Howard Marshall led to a case that eventually reached the Supreme Court. She was one of the first washed-up stars to attempt a reality show comeback, and her disastrous series set the template for dozens of copycat shows on VH1 and E! Anna Nicole wasn’t just an inexplicably famous celebrity; she was, for better or worse, a sort of icon, though what she represented is up for debate.
It makes sense, then, that Lifetime — home of Smith disciple Lindsay Lohan’s big comeback — is casting a new biopic about Playboy‘s most infamous centerfold. The call sheet, as reprinted by TMZ, lists the players tabloid readers now know well: Anna Nicole, “a pretty, but plain girl growing up in small town Texas” who “transformed herself though sheer willpower” into a sort of celebrity; Marshall, an 80-something magnate with a “pointlessness” replacing “the glint that used to be in his eyes”; Smith’s confidante Howard K. Stern, a “lawyer-guy-friend-weirdo”; and a few other characters, including Smith’s beloved son Daniel and her mother Virgie.
This all seems par for the course: If Prince William and Kate Middleton’s romance can inspire dueling TV movies, why shouldn’t Lifetime produce another version of the Anna Nicole story? Still, when I saw the news about the upcoming flick, I had only one question: Why?
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