Lifetime's Remake of *Death of a Cheerleader* Has a Very Familiar Face from the Original Movie

America's always had a fascination with true crime stories, but there's been a resurgence in recent years with Netflix documentaries like Making a Murderer. Lifetime is no stranger to the genre, either, and it continues its winter slate of female-led true crime movies with a remake of the cult classic Death of a Cheerleader.

The original movie, called A Friend to Die For, aired in 1994 and starred nineties icons Kellie Martin and Tori Spelling. This time around, Aubrey Peeples (Nashville) steps into the Kellie Martin role as Bridget Moretti, a high-schooler desperate to fit in and bond with popular cheerleader Kelly Locke (played by Sarah Dugdale). And thanks to some brilliant stunt casting, Martin also stars in the remake—time as the FBI agent who cracks the case.

Peeples and Dugdale didn't have much knowledge of the previous film prior to their casting, but Peeples admits they eventually watched most of the original. "We didn't want to get too much into our heads, but we definitely did our research," she says. One thing they were extra conscious of was steering clear of eighties stereotypes. "It was all sort of 'wannabe cheerleader murders popular girl', and that really struck me immediately," Peeples says. "I wanted to figure out as much as I could so I could play this role respectfully and with justice."

Here, Peeples and Dugdale explain why they hope the movie will not just entertain, but also inspire a bigger conversation about fitting in and impossible expectations. "We live in a competitive world that pits people against each other," Peeples says. Read on.


Glamour: The film is set in the eighties, but there's plenty to relate to in terms of confidence, bullying, and where you belong. How did you relate to the material?

Sarah Dugdale: There’s a lot of pressure on young women and young people, especially in high school. You feel like everything is the biggest deal and the end of the world. I really related to my character in that she was such a perfectionist and felt a lot of pressure. I'm a perfectionist and I put that pressure on myself, so I related in that way.

Aubrey Peeples: I definitely experienced a lot of anxiety and insecurities and [put] pressure on myself in high school, and I think that’s relevant to a lot of people—no matter how old you are. When I was reading a lot of the case notes [about this story], a lot of people mentioned that Bernadette, the real girl, had a lot of body issues and would talk about her body in a really negative way. She was very insecure, and that was definitely something I experienced as a young actress. So that’s really relevant.

Sarah: [This industry] is a very visual medium, so you have to make sure not tie your self worth to the business. It's a mentality that has to be practiced.

Aubrey: It’s a very competitive industry and we also live in a very competitive society, which is something I hope that the film reveals a little bit, and something I hope we can address.

What inspires you about the stories Lifetime is telling about real-life women?

Aubrey: It’s very relevant today, and I think the industry is hopefully leading towards empowering women. People also have a fascination with true crime, and I think everyone is just trying to understand our psychology a little bit more and understand why we do the things we do. We’re trying to attempt to understand our own humanity.

Published at Sat, 02 Feb 2019 15:00:00 +0000