September 23, 2016

Murder, She Wrote

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Folklaur Chevrier could easily be cast as the fictional sleuth Nancy Drew. After all, the actress spent the last ten years pursuing a cold case in her native Ontario, Canada. What began as a curiosity soon became an obsession and ultimately a screenplay called “Innocence,” which is starting to garner buzz as a hot property, most recently whispered about at the Toronto International Film Festival. Inspired by Chevrier’s painstaking research, “Innocence” tells the story of a woman determined to find out who killed her childhood friend, a mystery that has lingered for two decades. In an ItsAGlamThing.com exclusive, Folklaur shares her thoughts on “Innocence” for the first time!

NN: We hear you’re a real-life Nancy Drew! Please tell us how you first became interested in the cold case that would eventually inspire your screenplay “Innocence.”

FC: I was searching for a real-life story to explore and develop. One day, there it was on the front page of our local newspaper, the 20th Anniversary of an unimaginable small-town tragedy. A 9-year-old girl had been murdered and her killer had never been caught. The article had a gut-wrenching photo of the mother standing at her daughter’s grave. The image and story was just the beginning. What struck me was that there were still so many unanswered questions.

NN: As you researched the cold case, at what point did you realize it could be adapted for the screen?

FC: I immediately so the potential of adapting this story for the screen. It was so different from anything I had ever heard of. What I discovered in my research was, to me, both disturbing and inconceivable. It led me to an obsession to unearth the truth and honor this innocent child and her family.

NN: We understand that “Innocence” is a fictionalized version of the cold case. How do the two stories differ?

FC: I realized certain dramatic elements could be used to explore what might have happened while maintaining the integrity of the story. And there is a lot of story and sharing every detail wasn’t feasible. Fictionalizing the basic true narrative allowed me more flexibility to tell the story I thought was most compelling.

NN: What are the challenges of fictionalizing a story like this?

FC: There were almost too many challenges to count! One thing I new was extremely important was to tell a great story. I think that’s one reason the script is being talked about now. As an actress, I think of myself as a storyteller, but I’m not a screenwriter. I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with two outstanding writers (Douglas Nyback and Michael Goodin) who saw both the big picture as well as the nuances of telling this kind of story.

NN: Did you have a role in mind for yourself in “Innocence?” If so, which character and why?

FC: Yes, and you won’t believe which part I saw myself playing! Believe it or not, it was the role of the murdered child’s mother who I renamed “Pat.” The real “Pat” is a lot older than I am. She’s 71-years-old now. I had the privilege of interviewing her during my investigation. Although I’m not physically a match for her, I was moved by her steadfast resolve to find the truth. Thankfully, I’ve never endured anything close to what she’s faced losing a child in such a horrific way, but at some level, I understood her. As actors, we seek to illuminate the human condition in all of its situations, and always, always seeking the truth. I hope that’s what we accomplished with “Innocence.”

Visit InnocenceFilm.com for more info and follow Folklaur Chevrier @FolklaurChev

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