The Lifetime network is making a miniseries abut the Columbine High School massacre, in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured nearly two dozen others. The series will be based on journalist Dave Cullen's book about the tragedy, titled Columbine. Not everyone is thrilled with the idea, particularly some of the people who survived that horrific day. The SF Weekly's Alan Prendergast tries to understand "The Columbine Effect: Why Hollywood Is Keeping The Story Alive." From the SF Weekly:
After some high-profile industry names became attached to the proposal — writer/director Tommy O'Haver (An American Crime), and producers Michael DeLuca (Moneyball, The Social Network) and Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler (Boys Don't Cry) — Lifetime became interested in it as a "prestige project," something to help change the network's image.
Cullen expects to have considerable input into the adaptation. He doesn't anticipate that the miniseries will inspire copycats, because the "actual" Harris and Klebold, stripped of their mythologies, "are pretty unappealing." For economy's sake, the script may contain composite characters on the periphery of the story, but the intent is to tell a true story: "It's definitely all real names, real people, keeping it as real as possible."
Yet it's precisely the assertion of the project's authenticity that most troubles its opponents. In the Columbine community, Cullen's book is widely regarded not as the definitive account of the massacre and its aftermath, but one version of it, with its own biases and questionable interpretations. The second chapter portrays Harris as a chick magnet, an assertion based largely on the account of one reputed girlfriend whom police investigators concluded wasn't credible; several people who knew the killers well believe both Harris and Klebold died as virgins. ("Right now I'm trying to get fucked and trying to finish off these time bombs," Harris wrote two weeks before the attack.) It's one thread in a larger dispute some readers have with Cullen's work — which, in their view, downplays the role of bullying and other factors in its efforts to portray Harris as a well-integrated psychopath and Klebold as his depressed, rejected follower.