Gary Cole must be holding out for Showtime or better. Because TV Line reports that Peter Facinelli, the dude who played the creepy vampire dad in the Twilight movies, will play creepy V-neck sweater enthusiast (and more importantly, recently confirmed sex cult leader) Keith Raniere in a Lifetime movie about NXIVM. It’s appropriate the word time is in their name, because they wasted none of it when it comes to capitalizing on a scandal.
The movie will focus on Catherine Oxenberg’s fight to get her daughter out of the self help group turned multi-level marketing scheme turned abusive sex cult. Two years ago, Catherine went to People magazine in an attempt to throw a massive spotlight on NXIVM. Catherine claimed that her then-26 year old daughter, India, had been brainwashed by Keith and was being held as a member of his harem of underfed sex slaves. Eventually NXIVM crumbled and people like lead recruiter Allison Mack and Keith Raniere were convicted of running a sex cult.
It has all the most perfect elements for a Lifetime movie. A mother. A daughter. Shades of kidnapping. A harrowing search for said daughter. A cult. The woods (NXIVM was located in the woods of Albany, NY, and everyone knows the most fascinating television escapes are from the woods). It should be called NXIVM Without My Daughter, but it’s not. It’s close though! The project is called NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare. Lifetime describes it as follows:
When Catherine Oxenberg learns about a leadership seminar from a new organization called NXIVM, she decides to take 20-year-old India to the professional development meeting. Led by the extremely enigmatic Raniere, Catherine can’t help but shake the feeling there’s more than meets the eye with the self-help organization. Despite Catherine’s best efforts, India is drawn deeper into the cult, eventually joining a secret sorority of female members who are branded with the cult leader’s initials, ordered to maintain a restricted diet, and forced to recruit other women as sex slaves.
NXIVM Cult: A Mother’s Nightmare will tell the story of a mother who will stop at nothing to get her daughter back, while exposing the intricate seductive power of Raniere and Mack and the mental and physical abuse India fell victim to.
Andrea Roth (Janet from Rescue Me) will play Catherine, Jasper Polish will play India, and Sara Fletcher will play Allison Mack. This shouldn’t be confused with the NXIVM-inspired series currently in the works with Annapurna Television. And I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg – this NXIVM stuff is pretty compelling, which means there’s probably more on the horizon. I don’t know how they’ll keep them straight? Well, that’s not true. No one will confuse the Lifetime one. It will be the only one where you can find a scene of a mother staring out of her daughter’s bedroom window, clutching her daughter’s high school sweater, and declaring to no one in particular: “NXIVM better watch out, because I’m self-helping myself to a refund. I’ll take it in the form of…my daughter.”