Lifetime Announces Movie About Sherri Papini, California Woman Who Faked Her Own Kidnapping

Lifetime is making a movie about Sherri Papini. (Credit: YouTube)

Lifetime has greenlit four new “Ripped from the Headlines” movies about notorious women, including Sherri Papini: I Kidnapped Myself.

The film tells the story of Sherri Papini, the California woman who faked her own kidnapping in 2016, claimed she was abducted, and was eventually exposed and convicted.

The other films in the slate include How to Murder Your Husband about novelist Nancy Crampton-Brophy; Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias; and Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation.

The movies feature star-studded casts and will debut on back-to-back Saturdays starting Jan. 14, 2023.

Below are details from Lifetime on each of the four films.

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How to Murder Your Husband
The film stars Cybill Shepherd as Nancy Crampton-Brophy, a romance-thriller novelist and author of the essay How to Murder Your Husband, who was convicted of killing her husband, Daniel, played by Steve Guttenberg. This marks Shepherd’s return to Lifetime, having previously starred in The Client List and guest starred on Drop Dead Diva.

In real life, Nancy Crampton-Brophy (Shepherd) seemed to have a knack for writing about murder. The Portland-based novelist authored books about relationships that were tumultuous, while using seductive men on the covers to lure in her readers. Often, her books featured women protagonists who fantasized about killing their own husbands or fleeing their husbands and faking their own deaths. And then, in 2022 in a shocking turn of events, Brophy was convicted of killing her own husband.

The movie is produced by Front Street Pictures and is being distributed by Sony Pictures Television. Judith Verno through Peace Out Productions serves as executive producer. Stephen Tolkin directs from a script which he penned. How to Murder Your Husband premieres Saturday, Jan. 14 at 8/7c.

Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias
In this follow-up to one of Lifetime’s most successful true crime movies, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret, viewers will see a new side of the infamous murderess and the story that has captivated the world for nearly a decade. Celina Sinden stars in the new movie as Jodi, who has just been arrested and sent to prison while she awaits trial for murdering her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

When she arrived in jail, Jodi charmed her way through prison and befriended a couple, Donavan Bering and Tracy Brown. The three inmates became inseparable, Donovan and Tracy doing anything and everything Jodi asked — even letting the murderess tattoo her name on one of them. Donovan was released from prison as Jodi’s trial drew near and agreed to be Jodi’s mouthpiece, posting on her social pages and defending her friend to the world. But when the details of the case and Jodi’s story were no longer adding up and Donovan refused to continue to do her former friend’s bidding, Jodi’s vengeful side emerged.

The movie is produced for Lifetime by Cineflix Productions. Jeff Vanderwal, J.C. Mills, Sherri Rufh, Peter Emerson. Andy Streitfeld and Kim Clemons are  executive producers. Kim Barker wrote the script which Rama Rau directed. Tracy Brown and Donovan Bering serve as consultants on the movie. Bad Behind Bars: Jodi Arias premieres Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8/7c.

Sherri Papini: I Kidnapped Myself
Jaime King stars in the film about the nationwide, shocking story of a young mother of two named Sherri Papini, who disappears while jogging near her home, leading to national headlines as concerned citizens searched for her whereabouts. When she reappeared three weeks later on Thanksgiving Day, Sherri claimed she was abducted by two Hispanic women who chained and repeatedly abused her.

While Sherri’s return was celebrated, the state never stopped searching for her kidnappers. Four years later, Sherri’s world came crashing down as evidence revealed her kidnapping was all a hoax perpetrated by Sherri herself to spend time with her ex-boyfriend. Sherri was arrested and ultimately sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying to federal agents, creating hysteria in the community and wasting police time and funding with her nearly successful, elaborate scheme. Matt Hamilton co-stars as Sherri’s devoted husband, Keith.

The movie is written by Katie Boland and executive produced by Tim Johnson, Stacy Mandelberg and Jocelyn Freid, and directed by Marta Borowski. Sherri Papini: I Kidnapped Myself premieres Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8/7c.

Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation
Jennifer Grey stars as the controversial religious leader and Christian diet guru who positioned herself as God’s prophet and preached the virtues of being thin in the new Lifetime original movie.

As the founder of the Tennessee-based Remnant Fellowship Church and the Weigh Down Workshop – a massively successful Christian-based diet program that preached the virtue of a slim waist and the power of prayer for weight loss – Gwen Shamblin Lara was a rare woman to lead a Southern megachurch. As her church grew across the nation, so did her iron-fisted grip as its leader – accumulating power and money, while creating a larger-than-life public persona with dramatically teased and towering hair. At the peak of her power and influence, Gwen demanded that church members alienate themselves from anyone who was not a member, banished those that became overweight, threatened legal action against dissenters, and advocated for strict punishment of those who failed to follow church tenets. But Gwen’s reign suddenly came to a tragic end in May 2021, when the plane that her husband Joe was flying crashed shortly after takeoff, killing Gwen, Joe, their son-in-law, and four other Church leaders.

The movie is produced by Muse Entertainment production for Lifetime and is executive produced by Nancy Bennett and Jesse Prupas. John L’Ecuyer directs from a script by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney. Muse Distribution International handles foreign sales. Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation premieres Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8/7c.