Story That 'Haunted' New Yorkers Since 1964 Becomes a Movie

Kitty Genovese's gruesome killing to become feature film
By Brownie Marie,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2015 4:03 PM CDT
Story That 'Haunted' New Yorkers Since 1964 Becomes a Movie
This undated file photo shows Kitty Genovese.   (AP Photo/New York Daily News, File)

A legendary New York City crime that once inspired soul-searching and public debate is finally coming to the big screen. Spoiler alert: It's called "37," after the number of witnesses who allegedly watched, listened, or did nothing while Queens resident Kitty Genovese was raped and fatally stabbed. Starring "True Detective" actor Michael Potts and "Orange is the New Black" actress Samira Wiley, the 18-day shoot is triggering strong reactions and memories among neighbors, the New York Times reports. "This story had the greatest impact on me as child," a resident said during filming last week. "The whole thing was so horrifying." The shoot is about a mile from the actual crime scene, but a store owner still complained that the neighborhood has already been maligned enough.

The original Times account made mistakes, including the likely number of witnesses (it wasn't 37) and the notion that no one helped (a neighbor comforted Genovese in her final moments, and calls were made to police). But quotes attributed to Genovese—like "Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!”—reverberate to this day and even rankle neighbors of the current shoot. Actress Christina Brucato, who's portraying Genovese, says she "felt bad" about keeping a neighbor up all night during the murder scene: "They said I couldn’t go all out, but really, it was terrifying," she says. "I couldn’t help but let out some screams." It's the first film by 28-year-old Danish director Puk Grasten, who says "it’s nice to be from the outside: I can look at something and say, 'This is not supposed to be normal.'" (More crime stories.)

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