WASHINGTON — Hollywood will provide another take on the Chandra Levy story, just in time for the sentencing of the man convicted of killing the ill-fated intern.
Filming was set to begin as early as Saturday, on a made-for-television docudrama produced by the same company responsible for programs like "Dr. G: Medical Examiner" and "History's Lost and Found."
The new show temporarily dubbed "The Chandra Levy Project" will take three or four weeks to film and is to be aired on TLC, the cable network once known as The Learning Channel.
Producers could not be reached to elaborate Friday, but New York-based Atlas Media Corp. has been laying the foundation for several months. Filming was to take place both in Los Angeles and Washington.
Late last year, producers issued online casting calls for actors and actresses to portray several secondary characters. One sought an actor to portray Washington attorney Billy Martin, who formerly represented the Levy family.
"A smooth and seasoned litigator known around town simply as Billy ... Martin is equally comfortable on the streets and in the halls of official power, a go-to guy in Washington's legal world," the casting call explains.
Chandra's parents, Modesto residents Susan and Robert Levy, hired Martin after their daughter disappeared in May 2001. At the time, Chandra had finished graduate studies and a Bureau of Prisons internship and was preparing to return to California.
The mystery surrounding her disappearance was compounded by speculation, later confirmed, that Chandra was having an affair with then-congressman Gary Condit. Condit hired attorney Abbe Lowell to run interference for him.
"(Lowell is a) tough-talking criminal defense attorney known for representing powerful people who take well-publicized tumbles," an online casting call explained for the benefit of interested actors.
Chandra's skeletal remains were discovered in Washington's Rock Creek Park a year after her disappearance. Condit lost his House seat to primary challenger Dennis Cardoza, who has represented the 18th Congressional District ever since.
In November, a Washington jury convicted Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique of two counts of first-degree murder in connection with Levy's death. The jury concluded Guandique attacked Levy while she was hiking or jogging in Rock Creek Park.
Guandique is now scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11 by D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher. Guandique faces potential a sentence of 30 years to life on each count.
It could not be determined Friday who, if anyone, has been cast to portray Levy or Condit. In some cases, though, the producers have tipped their hand about how the show might look. For instance, producers last month were seeking a specific type of actress to portray an attorney named Christy Wiegand.
"She is tall and blond ... and an avid jogger. She becomes extremely emotional and MUST be stage stunt certified," the online casting call states.
The stunt experience requirement means the docudrama will include a reenactment of the day Guandique attacked Wiegand while she was jogging in Rock Creek Park. Wiegand testified that Guandique jumped her, causing them to tumble into a ravine where they struggled until she broke free.
"I was completely terrified," Wiegand testified in November.
McClatchy Newspapers 2010