From the network that brought us recent ripped-from-the-headlines biopics about Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and Drew Peterson comes one about ...
Anna Nicole Smith?
The late model, as seen in last night's Lifetime original film Anna Nicole, left an indelible mark on a then still-developing reality TV and celebrity culture.
Agnes Bruckner took on the tragic, titular role of the woman whose life saw so many ups, downs and bizarre turns that were stranger than fiction.
“I was very nervous and anxious, because she was so iconic and so famous and larger-than-life. I asked myself ‘Am I going to pull this off?’" Brucker said.
"'What kind of movie are we making?’ I asked all those questions. We really wanted to tell a different story, and that gave me the confidence to play her."
That different story is one of a woman whose life played out in real time in front of viewers for years - something now commonplace for Kim Kardashian et al.
It is also a tale of tragedy for a mother who welcomed a daughter, Dannielynn, just before she lost a son, and met her own demise in early 2007.
Whatever your opinion of Anna Nicole Smith, any parent can understand the struggle to go on after losing a child, a rare constant in a whirlwind of a life.
In the end, the film is pretty standard for Lifetime celebrity fodder, if not slightly better in the emotions, events and themes it chose to focus on.
The five most memorable moments from Anna Nicole:
1. Bruckner's transformation. Yes, it's what actresses do, but this is one heck of a woman to transform into, given her wildly fluctuating weight and appearance.
Smith flashed her boobs to crowds, pole-danced on football field (in front of her son), got hammered while pregnant, and went balls to the wall, 24/7/365.
That's not an easy person to embody, but Bruckner did so admirably.
2. An extension of #1 perhaps, but seeing Bruckner acting out the clown scene was so bizarre, it defies description. Incredibly, it happened in real life, too.
Donning eerie clown makeup and slurring her speech, a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith claimed her baby was “just gas” as Howard K. Stern filmed it.
It was a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it moment, a haunting reminder of how far she had fallen by that point and a harbinger of tragic events to come.
3. Anna Nicole's son Daniel was the unexpected star of the film.
Through the years, we saw his unconditional love and vulnerability, how Anna’s hard living impacted him, and how he succumbed to similar troubles himself.
4. Rather than flashbacks, there were flash-forwards to Smith in that iconic red dress, as if Anna Nicole were destined to be pulled out of Vickie Lynn.
5. The whole J. Howard Marshall romance was kind of odd, at least it was played up that way here, as if he just wanted to have some fun and dote on Smith.
No doubt the billionaire did that, to a point, but what was undoubtedly a layered and complex relationship felt overly simplistic and glossed over.
What did you think of Anna Nicole? Did you watch? Were you a fan? Share your comments and memories of the late model and reality star with THG.