‘The Gabby Petito Story’ – Thora Birch’s goal with Lifetime telepic



Actress makes directorial debut with Lifetime telepic

Thora Birch, director and co-star of ‘The Gabby Petito Story’ on Lifetime

Q: This was your directorial debut. How was this as an educational experience?

A: You know, I had directed some small online vignettes and one commercial before but moving into the TV movie space was definitely an education. But I was very fortunate to work with some very, very fine actors in Evan Hall and Skyler Samuels, who plays our wonderful Gabby.


Q: What told you that Skyler and Evan were your Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie?

A: Skyler and Evan are both very intelligent people and they’re wonderful humans on top of it. But they’re very dedicated actors. I think what I and others saw in them embodying these roles specifically was their chemistry and their dedication to approaching their characters with as much sympathy and compassion as they possibly could and a very concerted effort to bring about the most true-to-life sort of dynamic that happens in a relationship such as these, which are incredibly abusive. But it’s not about trying to lay the blame on one particular person although ultimately Brian did kill Gabby. That’s clear …

But our goal with the film has always been if somebody watches this and they’ve been in a position where they think maybe their relationship isn’t going so well or it’s abusive or one-sided in any way, there’s an inclination to keep fighting to hold onto that relationship no matter what. Right? So if somebody could watch this film and see that when you’re having those doubts, when you’re in those moments where you’re questioning that fundamental fact about your relationship, that’s when you need to move on. Because waiting another week, another month, another day could be all it takes for it to turn another way.


George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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