It’s frankly surprising that nearly 14 years after fashion writer Christa Worthington was found stabbed to death on the floor of her home in Truro, there’s not been a movie made about the murder.
Wait, there has been. Artist and independent filmmaker Arthur Egeli is set to release “Denton Harbor,” a movie inspired by the case, or at least one aspect of it. Egeli’s small-budget film, which was shot last fall in Provincetown, focuses on Worthington’s relationship with Tony Jackett, a shellfish constable whose extramarital affair with Worthington had resulted in a baby. (The then-2½-year-old girl, Ava, was alone with her mother’s body when it was discovered.)
Egeli, who produced and directed “Denton Harbor,” bought the rights to Jackett’s story back in 2003. His aim was to make a fictionalized account of Worthington’s life on Cape Cod, including her affair with Jackett, the birth of their child, and how Jackett and his wife, Susan, put their lives back together after the murder. (The movie does not deal with the trial of Christopher McCowen, the trash collector who was ultimately convicted of raping and murdering Worthington, and is now serving life in prison.)
“I just thought it was a very interesting project and it seemed to spawn endless media,” Egeli said. “Everything about the story has a universal appeal. But it’s a hard story to tell, to find the through line, because it’s really several movies in one.”
In addition to a media frenzy, the case yielded two books: Peter Manso’s ‘‘Reasonable Doubt: The Fashion Writer, Cape Cod, and the Trial of Chris McCowen,’’ and ‘‘Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod’’ by Maria Flook.
Egeli had hoped to attract Hollywood stars to play the fictional versions of Worthington and Jackett, but had to settle for a less-well-known cast that includes Jade Harlow as Elizabeth Baldwin, which is the name given to Worthington’s character, Josh Walther as Mike Luna (Jackett) and Egeli’s wife, Heather, as Nancy Luna (Susan Jackett).
It’s not clear yet if the movie will get a theatrical release, but Egeli is hopeful that cable outlets such as Lifetime, Hallmark, and Oxygen will be interested.