Following the overturning of the rape conviction at the center of The Lovely Bones author Alice Sebold’s memoir, Lucky, Variety reports that the adaptation of the memoir has been abandoned. According to a source close to the production, the movie was dropped after losing its financing months ago. Jonathan Bronfman, executive producer, is no longer attached to the project, Victoria Pedretti (“You”), previously slated to star, is no longer involved.
Pedretti would have played an 18-year-old Sebold, who was raped as a first-year university student in 1981 and then identified a man in the street months later as her attacker. “He was smiling as he approached,” wrote Sebold in Lucky. “He recognized me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street. ‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ . . . I looked directly at him. Knew his face had been the face over me in the tunnel.”
This man was 20-year-old Anthony Broadwater, home from the Marine Corps to visit his ill father, who served 16 years in prison after being erroneously found guilty of Sebold’s rape. After Broadwater—who is Black—was arrested, Sebold identified a different man in a police lineup; but Sebold still identified Broadwater as her rapist on the witness stand, after a prosecutor told her that Broadwater and the man she identified in the lineup were friends conspiring to trick her. The case relied on Sebold’s courtroom identification and microscopic hair analysis, which has now been discredited. Broadwater finished his sentence in 1999, but remained on New York’s sex offender registry. At the court hearing this month where Broadwater’s conviction was overturned, Onondaga county district attorney William Fitzpatrick said, “I’m not going to sully this proceeding by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t cut it. This never should have happened.”
“I’ve been crying tears of joy and relief the last couple of days,” Broadwater told the Associated Press after his exoneration. “I’m so elated, the cold can’t even keep me cold.”
The exoneration was set in motion by Tim Mucciante, producer of the adaptation of Lucky. Mucciante had signed on as executive producer, but became skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt after reading the first draft of the script, which was significantly different than the memoir. In June, Mucciante left the project and hired a private investigator, who put him in touch with the defense lawyers who eventually overturned Broadwater’s conviction. When contacted by Variety about the adaptation’s cancellation, Mucciante had no further comment.