First Look: Lifetime's 'I Am Elizabeth Smart' Revisits One of the Century's Most Eyebrow-Raising Kidnapping Cases

Aubry D'Arminio
Preview Lifetime

Ulrich and Boden

“Having Elizabeth on set added a level of reality to everything we did, but it pulled our heartstrings out,” Skeet Ulrich (Riverdale) says about working with kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart on the upcoming biopic I Am Elizabeth Smart. Smart, who serves as a producer and narrates the story, “would demonstrate where she was in a particular scene, and knowing she was forced to do that day after day, and watching her do it again, was indescribably painful,” Ulrich says.

Elizabeth Smart: Her Side of the Story

Elizabeth Smart

Ulrich plays Brian David Mitchell, the cultist convicted of keeping Elizabeth (Alana Boden) hostage and sexually abusing her from June 2002 to March 2003, when she was only 14. (Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison.) “The way he used religion as a tool made nearly every scene a challenge, but without a doubt the first rape was the most brutal and demeaning scene I have ever been a part of,” Ulrich says. “I read the 206-page psych analysis on him, and every page was filled with darkness.”

I Am Elizabeth Smart, Premieres Saturday, Nov. 18, Lifetime

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This article also appeared in the Aug. 7–20 issue of TV Guide Magazine

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