Stolen Time: Sunny Jacobs biopic in the works at Amblin Partners
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amblin Partners is in the process of developing a new biographical drama film titled Stolen Time, which will center on the life of Sunny Jacobs, a woman who was wrongfully convicted of murder along with her husband in 1976. The film will also be based on Jacobs’ book titled Stolen Time: The Inspiring Story of an Innocent Woman Condemned to Death, which was first published in 2007, almost 16 years after she was released from prison. The biopic will be produced by TED’s Juliet Blake.
“When Juliet told me about Sunny’s life and the miscarriage of justice she suffered, my jaw hit the ground — just when I thought I’d heard the most shocking part, there would be another twist more unbelievable than the last,” Amblin Partners’ president of production Holly Bario said in a statement. “Despite everything she went through, Sunny’s is a story of hope — instead of embracing anger she forgave, instead of letting tragedy define her life, Sunny became living proof that love always wins. I’m especially excited to tell this story with Juliet, whom I’ve known for many years, and who understands better than anyone the impact that a powerful story can have.”
In 1976, a married couple Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs and Jesse Tafero were convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of two police officers which was based on the false testimony by chief witness Walter Rhodes, who was actually one that shot the officers. While in prison, Sunny and Jesse maintained their relationship by sending each other letters every day. After 5 years, Rhodes had finally recanted his previous testimony and had admitted to the murders which resulted in the Florida Supreme Court commuting Jacobs’ sentence from death to life imprisonment. Unfortunately, things didn’t get better for Tafero as he still remains on death row until his botched execution by electrocution in May 1990.
Nearly 17 years after she was wrongfully convicted, Jacobs was released from prison and went on to build The Sunny Center which is a sanctuary for exonerees, who seek support and assistance for their trauma, isolation, and disconnection resulting from wrongful incarceration.
Social activist Micki Dickoff and Jason Flom, host of the Wrongful Conviction podcast, are set as executive producers. Holly Bario will be overseeing the project for the studio. Amblin Partners is currently looking for potential writers that could adapt Stolen Time.
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(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2019)