By now we’ve all seen the unintentionally hilarious trailer in which Rob Lowe utters, “I’m Untouchable, bitch” through the open garage door of his frightened neighbor. If you’ve been watching Lifetime channel or sought them out on YouTube, you’ve maybe seen a couple of the longer ads which reveal glimpses of domestic violence, a body in a bathtub and Rob Lowe’s unconvincing suburban Chicago accent. If you make your living as a movie reviewer you may have even already seen the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” which is set to air on January 21.
The movie, which is based on Joe Hosey’s book “Fatal Vows: the Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson”, has upset some people. The public wonders if the story is premature–after all, Peterson has yet to be convicted of murdering anyone and Stacy Peterson remains a missing person. Some family members are upset that they were never consulted about the film and that none of its proceeds will go to searches for Stacy or to fight domestic abuse. Peterson and his defense team are possibly the most upset at the making of the movie. A character depicting Peterson seems to be involved in some very bad things that Peterson denies ever having done and not only that, he’s not making a dime off it!
Personally, I’m on the fence. I’m glad to see attention being focused back on the lives of Stacy Peterson and Kathleen Savio after being overshadowed by years of Peterson’s tasteless and cruel public antics. On the other hand, since it’s a Lifetime movie, I fully expect it to be melodramatic and cheesy and maybe it is premature to make a reality-based film about a story that is yet to be resolved.
I am a bit bothered about the casting choices. It isn’t so much Rob Lowe’s good looks that I find so jarring, but rather that he is a good decade younger than Drew Peterson. Meanwhile, Kaley Cuoco, who plays Stacy Peterson, is 26–three years older than Stacy was when she disappeared. It just puzzles me why Lifetime would choose to take the impact away from a very real fact of the story. When Drew Peterson first started dating Stacy Cales, she was 17 and he was 47! If you look at the photo at the top of this story on the left you see a couple who could pass for father and daughter, while the fictionalized version on the right just looks like a couple.
There’s no denying that Peterson has a penchant for very young women and Stacy Peterson was not the only Bolingbrook teenager to catch Drew’s eye. He met Christina Raines, his on-again off-again girlfriend, when she was just 15. Diana Grandel, who carried on a romantic correspondence with Peterson in jail, went public to say that the two of them had met when she was 14 and Sergeant Peterson responded to domestic disturbance calls at her home. To some it appears that Officer Peterson used his uniform and position of authority to impress young girls and perhaps even to groom them for a sexual relationship. With facts like that, it’s surprising that the filmmakers would want to go easy on Peterson when it comes to the age difference…or maybe they just thought that Cuoco could play seventeen (I’m not convinced that she can).
But, ultimately a movie is a movie and reality is reality. The reality is that Peterson sits in jail, awaiting trial for murder of one wife, another wife has been effectively erased from the face of the earth and family, friends and the public all hope for justice.
UPDATE 1/18: Check out the snippets and links to new interviews with Joe Hosey, the author of Fatal Vows, and Mikael Salomon, the Director of Untouchable in the comments thread below.