JonBenet Ramsey Murder 20 Years Later: Details About CBS Series, New Movie

As we've reported, this Christmas will mark twenty years since the murder in Boulder of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. Yet the fascination with the still-unsolved slaying refuses to dissipate.

As evidence, consider the huge splash made in February by Internet speculation that JonBenét didn't die — and she's actually singer Katy Perry.

Now comes word that CBS is in final negotiations to order a series about the JonBenét slaying.

And we've got additional information about Casting JonBenet, an independent movie that received a state rebate for filming in Colorado.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news about the CBS series following the finale of FX's The People vs. O.J. Simpson.

But unlike that program, in which celebrities such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and John Travolta appeared, the JonBenét offering with kick-off an unscripted anthology that will turn its gaze upon a different real-life crime each season — should it last, that is.

The model, in all likelihood, is Netflix's Making a Murderer. According to the Reporter, the show "will reunite the original investigators in the Ramsey case as well as new experts who all re-examine the unsolved case."

The person at the helm of the series, if all goes as anticipated, will be Tom Forman, an Emmy winner whose credits include 48 Hours — and indeed, that program devoted an episode to the JonBenét mystery back in 2004. We've included an excerpt below.

Far less straight-forward is Casting JonBenet, the aforementioned movie. Note that one scene reportedly called for a dead deer — something that doesn't pertain to the actual case as far as anyone knows.

The film's page on the site offers more details.

The summary reads:
A sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case, the unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. After twenty years of media speculation and public hysteria that more or less accused her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, of killing their own child, Casting JonBenet presents audiences with a hybrid of non-fiction and fiction filmmaking that examines the complicated legacy of this tiny starlet. Inciting responses, reflections and even performance from members of the Ramsey’s own Colorado community, the film will examine how this heinous crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.
And here are the bios of the two main creative forces behind the film:
Kitty Green (Director/Producer): Kitty Green is an award-winning Australian director. In 2012, Kitty spent a year in her mother’s native Ukraine shooting with the provocative protest movement Femen. Her abduction by the KGB made headlines across the globe. Her independent feature documentary, Ukraine Is Not A Brothel premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2013, screened at SXSW, Hot Docs, AFI Docs, IDFA and over fifty film festivals internationally. In 2015, Ukraine Is Not A Brothel won the Australian Academy of Cinematic Arts’ award for best Australian feature documentary. Kitty’s documentary short about the current Ukrainian crisis, The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul premiered at Sundance in January where it was awarded the non-fiction jury prize. The film made its European premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

Scott Macaulay (Producer): Scott Macaulay is a film producer and co-president of the production company Forensic Films. With his partner Robin O’Hara, he has produced or executive produced many award-winning features, including: Peter Sollett’s Raising Victor Vargas; Harmony Korine’s Gummo (as co-producer) and Julien Donkey-Boy; Alice Wu’s Saving Face; Tom Noonan’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning What Happened Was and his follow-up feature, The Wife; Jesse Peretz’s The Chateau; Bryan Barber’s Idlewild; John Leguizamo’s Undefeated; James Ponsoldt’s Off the Black; and Mark Jackson’s War Story. As a company, Forensic Films has been involved as a co-producer in many European productions, including Olivier Assayas’s Demonlover and Clean. He most recently produced Elisabeth Subrin’s debut feature, A Woman, a Part, and is at work producing Alix Lambert’s feature doc, Goodbye, Fat Larry.
These may be the first JonBenét projects to surface this year — but they're unlikely to be the last.

Continue to see an excerpt from the aforementioned 48 Hours documentary.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts