Elizabeth Smart's parents sign book and movie deals

Friday, August 22, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY -- A two-hour CBS television movie about Elizabeth Smart's nine-month kidnapping ordeal is expected to be aired in November, her father said Thursday.

The story will be told from the viewpoint of her parents, Ed and Lois Smart, who have also signed a book deal about the kidnapping.

"We're pleased. We think CBS is going to do a good job," Smart told The Associated Press. He referred questions to CBS, and the network refused comment Thursday.

Filming was scheduled to begin in two weeks in Halifax, Nova Scotia, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Smart parents have signed a deal with Doubleday Books to tell their story in "Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope." That book is scheduled for release on Oct. 28, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Calls seeking comment from Doubleway were not returned Thursday.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth's uncles, Tom and Dave Smart, also are working on a book about the teenager's ordeal, Tom Smart said Thursday. That story, which the brothers will co-write with Deseret Morning News columnist Lee Benson, will not come out until the criminal cases against Elizabeth's alleged kidnappers are resolved.

Family members are acting separately because "Ed and Lois wanted it that way," Tom Smart said. "We do have very different stories to tell, though there is obvious overlap."

Tom Smart said the book would include information from police investigations, interviews with members of his family and the alleged kidnappers' families. It also will look at media ethics and how the story was reported.

Elizabeth, 15, was abducted from her bedroom on the night of June 5, 2002. In March, she was found in a Salt Lake suburb with her alleged kidnappers, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee.

In the first five days after the kidnapped teen returned home, the family's spokesman fielded nearly 100 film, book or made-for-TV-movie proposals.

Prosecutors say Mitchell, 49, a drifter and self-styled prophet, and Barzee, 57, held Elizabeth at a crude campsite in the dry foothills above the Smart home until Oct. 8. They then took her to California, where they stayed until March 5, according to court documents.

Mitchell and Barzee have been charged with burglary, kidnapping and sexual assault. They are being held on $10 million bond pending psychological examinations to determine whether they are competent to stand trial.

Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom said Thursday the competency evaluations could be completed by early October.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth on Monday will start her freshman year at East High School in Salt Lake City. "She's very excited," her father said.

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