Friday, September 18, 2009

Jessica Biel to play Kathleen Zellner, Local Chicago Attorney

The above images were the entire front page of our local paper this morning. This is very strange for me, as this is the first time I'm writing about a movie based on someone I have actually met in real life (not reel life!) Kathleen Zellner is a local attorney, and to say that she is tough as nails is an understatement. She eats nails for breakfast. I once had an hour long meeting with Zellner, and let's just say that she could out tough Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada or Angelina Jolie for that matter any day of the week. I haven't seen Blade Trinity, so my first thoughts were that Jessica Biel is not nearly badass enough to play Kathleen Zellner.

But in Priviledged Information, Jessica Biel is playing Kathleen Zellner from 17 years ago, when she was a Chicago criminal attorney representing the death penalty appeal of serial killer Larry Eyler.

The case was intriguing, as Eyler confessed 21 murders to Zellner, but their attorney-client relationship prevented her from revealing that information -- at the same time Zellner was being hunted by Eyler's killing partner.
"It's not going to be a slasher movie. It's going to be more of a thriller, and suspense," she said, likening the tone of the film to the haunting Anthony Hopkins-Jodie Foster collaboration, "Silence of the Lambs."

Before he died of AIDS in 1994, Eyler revealed to Zellner, one crime at a time, how he killed 21 people in addition to the victim whose killing had landed him in the penitentiary where the confidential confessions were made.

It wasn't easy carrying around the awful knowledge for the 18 months that went by before Eyler succumbed to his illness, but she had no choice. The constraints of attorney-client privilege demanded that she keep it to herself.

"It was very difficult, but you have an ethical obligation as an attorney," said Zellner,
After writers are chosen for the project, Jessica Biel will shadow Zellner in her job to prepare for filming Priviledged Information. How does Zellner feel about Jessica Biel playing her?
I feel very confident in her ability to play the role," Zellner said Thursday. "She was telling me how difficult it is as a woman to get a leading part in a movie. There just aren't that many interesting roles."

"It sounded to me like this is really one of her top projects," Zellner said. "I think she's really focused on it."
Read the whole article here.

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