Neve Campbell is a long way from the Sallingers’ San Francisco home — and Grey’s Anatomy’s Seattle Grace Hospital, for that matter — in the Lifetime original movie An Amish Murder, premiering Sunday at 9/8c.
Based on the book Sworn to Silence, the telepic stars Campbell as Kate Burkholder, a woman who grew up Amish but left her Ohio community as a young girl after a series of brutal murders. Years later, Kate returns to her small town as the Chief of Police, where old wounds are opened when she is tasked with solving a new string of killings.
Campbell served as an executive producer on the project, alongside fellow multi-hyphenate Poppy Montgomery and Barbara Lieberman (Murder in the Hamptons). The cast meanwhile also includes Neve’s brother Christian Campbell (Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical), Noam Jenkins (Rookie Blue) and C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders).
Explaining what drew her to An Amish Murder — which if successful may act as a backdoor pilot to a Lifetime series — Campbell, says, “I think I’ve always been interested in the Amish lifestyle. It’s so foreign to how most of us live that it’s intriguing to most people, and I was definitely interested in learning more about them.”
Growing up in Canada, Campbell lived a few towns over from a Mennonite community, which shares several traits with the Amish. “I remember as a child being really intrigued and curious at the idea that they lived without electricity and live without cars…. How do they do that? But I was also fascinated by their faith, their community and their kindness. I remember them being really nice.”
Having been raised in an Amish community only to abruptly leave — and now return — Kate is described by Campbell as “a person who lives with one energy in one world and another in the other. I think that to live in such an innocent way, such a different way, and then be sort of flung into what we consider to be ‘normal’ society, would have been very shocking. So, there was a lot of stuff to play with the character.”
After discussing the prospect with Lifetime, Campbell believes An Amish Murder “has really good potential” to in fact live on as a series, if handled the right way.
“It’s an interesting character [and] an interesting concept,” the actress acknowledges, “but I’ve definitely been talking to them about the fact that I want to know that there’s somewhere to go with it, that there’s enough there within this community and within this concept that we can tell years’ worth of stories.”