Late actress stars in fact-inspired Lifetime drama about human trafficking
Always intended to be relevant about a certain issue, a new Lifetime movie now has additional and sad significance.
Debuting Saturday, Sept. 17, “Girl in Room 13” is one of the last acting projects completed by Anne Heche before her death from injuries sustained in a car accident last month.
Directed by actress Elisabeth Rohm (“Law & Order”), the fact-inspired film casts Heche as the mother of a rehabilitated addict (Larissa Dias) whose drug-dealing ex-boyfriend (Max Montesi) kidnaps and abuses her, preparing her for human trafficking. Others think the young woman has left to relapse, but the mother is determined to find her before it’s too late.
Despite much unsettling content in “Girl in Room 13,” the film is part of Lifetime’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign. “All of us — especially Larissa who played this victim — are committed to that cause,” Rohm says. “And Anne, every single day, we talked about (the fact) that this was our mission. And although she is deeply missed right now, she did a phenomenal performance, a tour de force. Much like Larissa.”
“When Calls the Heart” alum Dias maintains she’s “highly empathetic, sometimes to a fault, so (the movie role) really sticks with me. Even now, I can feel myself getting emotional just thinking about some of the stuff that these people go through. The cause and the story and the impact that it’s going to make, makes me want to go there for people. That’s why I do this.
“On this specific project, I was really, really lucky,” adds Dias. “I had a really amazing intimacy coordinator. She was there for all the assault scenes while filming, then she would also follow up with me every day. She really helped me to get out of that space when the production was over, for sure.”
Rohm also directed the grueling true story “Girl in the Basement” for Lifetime, and she notes, “What I am so passionate about is the female-forward program at Lifetime, all of the executives there supporting women to get behind the camera. That really helped me to begin to dream big.”