We already knew that Anna Kendrick had signed on to produce and star in stranger-than-fiction true crime film The Dating Game, but now she will also make her directorial debut with the project. Chloe Okuno (Watcher) was previously on board to helm the film but had to step away. Ian MacAllister McDonald has written the screenplay.
The film is based on the shockingly true story of the time a serial killer competed on and won a date on popular TV game show, The Dating Game. The killer, Rodney Alcala, was in the midst of a killing spree in 1978 when he brazenly took part in the show. Kendrick will play Cheryl Bradshaw, the contestant who ended up choosing to go on a date with Alcala.
Incredibly, at that time of his appearance on the show, Alcala had murdered five women and been convicted of the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl. Even The Bachelor franchise would have a difficult time screwing up his background check nowadays. Naturally, Bradshaw found Alcala creepy and didn’t end up going on a date with him. Safe to say: a good call.
Two years following his appearance on the show, Alcala was sentenced to death for murder. He appealed several times, but when advances in DNA were made, he was tied to even more murders. Detectives have estimated he may have killed as many as 130 people.
About stepping into the role of director in addition to her other duties, Kendrick said:
“I’ve loved this script from the moment I read it. And while I was obviously thrilled to be playing the character of Cheryl, I felt so connected to the story, the tone, and the themes around gender and intimacy, that when the opportunity came up to direct the film, I jumped at it. It feels meant to be.
The support I’ve received already from Stuart Ford and everyone at AGC, Vertigo, and BoulderLight has been inspiring and empowering.”
AGC Studios’ Ford added: “Anna has such an innate feeling for the characters in this film and the tone of the movie, it makes absolute sense for her to step behind the camera and direct it and to back her vision for the film to move forward alongside our partners at BoulderLight and Vertigo.”
It’s a little hard to believe this true story isn’t more well known, though you imagine that ABC – who aired The Dating Game – have worked hard to keep the story relatively contained. No network wants to be known as the one that was lax enough to let an active serial killer on air.
Expect The Dating Game – the film – to be pretty well discussed once it arrives. It will be great to see Kendrick behind the camera, and her typically bubbly on-screen persona should fit really well as a contrast to Alcala’s creepiness. There’s currently no word on who will play him, but production on the movie is slated to begin next month, so we should know soon.