All he needed was a person to believe in his innocence.
In 1959, Huron County was rocked when then-14-year-old Steven Truscott was sentenced to death by hanging after a court convicted him of raping and killing 12-year-old Lynn Harper.
Decades of public outcry and investigations by his wife, Marlene Truscott, including the examination of more than 10,000 pages of documents, led to his sentence being commuted and his parole released in 1969.
The manufacture, Marlenea film about the story of Steven Truscott and the decades of work Marlene did to clear his name will premiere in select theaters, including The Bookshelf at Guelph.
The film focuses on Marlene Truscott and the monumental task she undertook to overturn Steve’s death sentence.
The making of the film was a long process, with the initial stages appearing almost 10 years ago.
“My parents are older now, my brother and sister both have children and I think we kind of had our time in the spotlight. “This film is something that was designed 10 years ago and I think it took a long time because of the funding issues and the way Canadian films work,” said their son Ryan Truscott.
Steven and Marlene refused to be interviewed.
“Well, really, the purpose of this film was to come out many years ago, and I think it got funding and it did and it is coming out now – which is a little later than it used to be.”
Directed by Wendy Hill-Tout, the film was shot in the Calgary area, with Kitchener-born actress Kristin Booth as Marlene.
“I also went back to Goderich Prison, which was the first prison he went to when he was 14 and he was arrested,” said Hill-Town. “That was it, I imagine they were somehow surprised by the small, tiny cells of the prison and I was just imagining this 14-year-old boy in there. It was riveting. “
Filmed in 2020, Marlene narrowly escaped the capture of COVID-19, which closed production across Canada in March 2020 and allowed Tout-Hill to form a bond with the Truscott family.
“I was never told what to do. Marlene just told me she wanted to be real, and I told her, ‘Marlene, I do not need to invent anything,'” Hill-Tout said. “I corresponded with Marlene all the time while writing, it was a very long writing process, probably seven years or maybe longer, but I try to falsify it and I always asked her the facts because it’s such a long story.”
In an email, Tout-Hill and Marlene Truscott looked at small details such as how Marlene dressed in the 1960s.
“For me, it’s this brave woman who basically became this Erin Brockovich and was ruthless in finding the facts,” Tout-Hill said.
While the Truscotts lived a quiet life in Guelph, Ryan said that his mother’s birthplace, Guelph, was the perfect place to release this film to the public.
“My family is really proud of the film, we have all seen how wonderful Kristen is doing playing my mom and also the younger woman posing as my mom as a child, it’s a very important story that people want to remember.” said Ryan. “That’s why it’s coming out now compared to years ago, when it was an important thing.
“I think it’s very important for people to realize that first of all, it’s a true story, they’ve got some freedoms in some areas, but generally the basis is that it’s a true story. It happened to someone in Canada. “We have to remember that something as serious as the death penalty was abolished in Canada in part because of my father’s case, and we want to keep it that way,” Ryan said.
“We also want people to understand that one person can make a difference. “My mom had no legal education, in fact it was through perseverance and effort to gather the right people, and really a lot of amazing women came together to really help get through that.”
The film has received a handful of accolades, including winning the Alberta Film & Television Awards (AMPIA Awards) for Best Make-Up and / or Hair Artist, Best Feature Film at the Forest City Film Festival and Best Photography at Hamilton Film Festival.