‘A House on Fire’ provides fuel for Stephanie March

'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' alum stars in Lifetime drama

Stephanie March stars in “A House on Fire” Saturday on Lifetime.

After pursuing justice on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Stephanie March may be crossing over to the other side. 

Cast as prosecutor Alexandra Cabot during her time on the long-running NBC drama, the actress stars as a tightly wound doctor, wife and mother whose personal and professional challenges take a cumulative toll on her in “A House on Fire,” a movie adaptation of Ann Rule’s true-crime bestseller “Bitter Harvest” that Lifetime debuts Saturday, March 13. As the medic grows jealous of her fellow-doctor husband’s (Shaun Benson) ease with work and people, her abuse of drugs and alcohol factors into an eventual tragedy she may responsible for.

“A House on Fire” unfolds as a long flashback framed by scenes set later, and the friendly March says the filming played with the timeline similarly. “I had the makeup and wardrobe changes to prove it,” she reflects. “It was shot based more on location (grouping all the scenes done at one site together), so it was a little tough.”

Still, March stresses, “It was really wonderful to have the opportunity to dig into something so deep. I was not familiar with (Ann Rule’s) work, but I was delighted to dive into it. Having done crime drama from a very different perspective, it was really fun to turn the tables with this.”

Though the title “A House on Fire” is a metaphor for the tale, it also can be taken literally, since a blazing structure is part of the scenario … and, as shown, March was in close physical proximity to the pyrotechnics.

“It was the most professional crew,” she notes, “and honestly, I was so happy to be able to work (close to the fire). It is hard to conjure the image of your house burning down just out of your imagination, so this was a lot better than working with a green screen. They didn’t really set the house on fire, but it was enough to give me a good idea of what it would be like standing in the yard and looking back. I suspect it was expensive, but it was helpful.”

The imminent return of Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler on NBC’s soon-to-debut “Law & Order: Organized Crime” suggests few characters may be gone from the franchise for good. March confirms that if either “SVU” or “Organized Crime” wanted her as Cabot again, she’d be open to having that conversation.

“There’s always a little bit of buzz around that,” she says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of appearance. I make no promises, nor do I allude to any sort of arrangement, but it would be awfully fun to be back in action (as Cabot).”

‘A House on Fire’ Premieres Saturday, March 13 at 8/7c on Lifetime
Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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