When suitcases with body parts washed up on the shore in Virginia, a bizarre murder case unfolded.
It was discovered that the suitcases contained the remains of William McGuire, having been killed by his wife Melanie, who drugged and shot her husband and then, after dismembering his body with a power saw, disposed of it in three suitcases in the Chesapeake Bay.
Now the gruesome case is getting the Lifetime movie treatment, in the aptly entitled film, Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story.
The movie stars Candice King (Vampire Diaries) as Melanie, while Michael Roark (The Young and the Restless) plays William.
Jackson Hurst (Sharp Objects) plays Bradley Miller the doctor with whom Melanie was having an affair, which supposedly led to her offing her spouse.
Suitcase Killer marks the directorial debut of Nicole L. Thompson.
King says that this role was a good fit for her because, “I get very into true life crime stories. So I talked everybody’s ear off about this case.”
She says that it was her responsibility to, ‘tell Melanie’s story properly,’ admitting that the woman, “had many, many faults, self-admittedly.”
To prep for the role, King says, that she listened to a podcast called Direct Appeal, in which Melanie spoke for hours, sharing her story.
And when it came time for some of the more gruesome aspects of filming, King says that she found a curious aspect to her portrayal. “Even filming, essentially, recreating what is, of course, in real life, a horrific scene of a body being cut up in a bathtub, I oddly felt right at home with a bunch of fake blood being thrown at my face and fake saw sounds.”
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She surmises that she wasn’t phased by the blood and gory because, “It really brought me back to some Vampire Diaries days.”
Roark says that while there was a lot of information about Melanie in the public domain, there wasn’t much about William. As such, he had to do his own work, “[filling] in a lot of those gaps [to] find my own interpretation.”
As a first-time director, Thompson felt it was very important to her to give the story justice, and make sure that the facts ‘shined through,’ while also, “showing the characters in fullness, [and] making sure that film had a [complete] story arc from beginning to end.”
Hurst says that he went into the project thinking that Melanie was, ‘guilty, guilty, guilty as charged,’ but, then he started listening to the podcast and doing his own research, finding that, “yeah, the forensic evidence was completely lacking. It was circumstantial evidence and, I mean, you could get into the specifics of a few things but I, to this day, am still pretty torn.”
Roark is quick to add, “And there’s no smoking gun evidence but, at the same time, Melanie had some behavior that kind of looks like someone who would be guilty.”
This is precisely why Hurst believes Suitcase Killer is such a riveting story, pointing out that Thompson’s direction does a good job of, “not forcing you to choose sides but just telling the story.”
This was her intent all along, says Thompson. “It was our goal was to keep it in a way that the audience can make their decision.”
‘Suitcase Killer: The Melanie McGuire Story’ airs on Saturday, June 18th at 8/7c on Lifetime.