“Lucky”, the film project adapted from Alice Sebold’s memoir from 1999 with the top line of “You” star Victoria Pedretti, has been abandoned, Variety have learned.
The film was dropped after losing its funding months ago, according to a source close to the production. Pedretti is also no longer involved.
In “Lucky,” Sebold portrays being beaten and raped by a stranger during her first year at Syracuse University in 1981 and explores how this trauma shaped the rest of her life. On Wednesday, an article in the New York Times described how executive producer Timothy Mucciante raised concerns about the events in the book and left the project.
Anthony Broadwater, the man portrayed in her novel (under the fictional name Gregory Madison) and convicted of first-degree rape and five other charges in this case, was acquitted on Nov. 24 in the New York State Supreme Court.
Broadwater spent 16 years in prison and was released in 1998. Since then, he has continued to claim his innocence while facing decades of stigma, isolation and lost job opportunities as a registered sex offender.
Mucciante, who was an executive producer on “Lucky” and was to provide funding for the film through his banner Red Badge Films, played a crucial role in getting Broadwater’s verdict re-evaluated. Mucciante “began to question the story on which the film was based earlier this year after noticing inconsistencies between the memoirs and the script,” according to The New York Times.
Mucciante left the project in June and hired a private detective to investigate the evidence against Broadwater. The outcome of the private investigation was then taken up by Broadwater’s legal team.
Broadwater’s defense attorneys argued that the case was based solely on a method of microscopic hair analysis that has now been discredited, and on Sebold’s identification of Broadwater in court. Sebold had originally identified another man as her attacker in a police line-up, but later pointed to Broadwater in court after “the prosecutor erroneously told Ms. Sebold that Mr. Broadwater and the man next to him were friends who deliberately had appeared in line together to fool her, “reports the New York Times.
“I began to be in doubt, not about the story that Alice told about her assault, which was tragic, but the second part of her book about the trial, which was not connected,” Mucciante told the Times.
Sebold has not commented on the overturned verdict, but ignored questions from a Daily Mail journalist near her home in San Francisco, as seen in photos and a video released by the British publication. “Lucky”, which sold over 1 million copies, started her career as a writer. She went on to write the 2002 novel “The Lovely Bones”, which sold 10 million copies and was adapted into Peter Jackson’s Oscar-nominated film of the same name.
Karen Moncreiff (“13 Reasons Why”) was to write and direct “Lucky”, with James Brown (“Still Alice”) producing. Jonathan Bronfman of JoBro Productions was the executive producer on the film, however Variety has confirmed that he is no longer associated with the project.
Variety has contacted Brown and Sebold’s literary agent for a comment. Mucciante had no further comments.
Pat Saperstein and Angelique Jackson contributed to this story.