Michael Sheen has never been shy about dipping his toes into many different genres and styles over the course of his decades-long career.
Sheen has played roles as varied as werewolf anti-hero Lucian in the Underworld films, a vampire elder in The Twilight Saga, journalist David Frost in Frost/Nixon, and more recently, groundbreaking sex researcher Dr. William Masters on Showtime’s critically acclaimed drama Masters of Sex.
One role he’s yet to tackle is that of writer and director of a feature film, a fact which is soon to change courtesy of the graphic novel adaptation Green River Killer.
Based on the 2011 reality-based graphic novel Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by author Jeff Jensen and artist Jonathan Case, Green River Killer focuses on infamous serial killer Gary Ridgway (Sheen) and Tom Jensen — Jeff’s father — the police detective in charge of the two-decade manhunt for the sadistic murderer.
For those unfamiliar with the case, Ridgway terrorized the Seattle area throughout the 1980s and 1990s, eventually being convicted of 49 murders and confessing to dozens more. Ridgway was finally apprehended in 2001, and sentenced in late 2003 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As part of his plea deal, Ridgway led prosecutors to the gruesome remains of several of his confirmed victims.
Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA-nominated actor Sheen was reportedly so inspired by the graphic novel that he wrote the script for Green River Killer completely on spec, with it going on to be recognized by the 2015 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. While Sheen bears little physical resemblance to Ridgway, his apparent passion for the material and tendency to disappear into his characters like a chameleon suggests that audiences may be in for quite the chilling portrayal. The equally important role of Tom Jensen has yet to be cast at the moment, although one assumes producers are on the hunt for an actor capable of matching Sheen’s screen presence.
Unlike the cases of similarly infamous monsters such as Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, Ridgway’s story has yet to receive much exploration in the cinematic realm. A 2005 direct-to-DVD horror film loosely based on Ridgway’s crimes was released to nearly universal disdain by those who happened across it. A two-part 2008 Lifetime telefilm called The Capture of the Green River Killer received similarly poor critical notices. In other words, the story of Green River Killer is still largely untapped when it comes to the true crime movie genre, and Sheen’s effort could very well ultimately serve as the definitive filmed account of America’s most prolific serial killer.
Green River Killer is in pre-production, and has no current release date.
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