Lifetime Recounts a Harrowing Ordeal with "Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez"

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Lifetime premieres another ripped-from-the-headlines movie this weekend with Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez. The film is based on the 2013 true-life events surrounding the kidnapping of Abby Hernandez, who was at the age of 14 abducted while walking home from her New Hampshire high school and held captive for 284 harrowing days by 34-year-old Nathaniel Kibby. At first, Kibby held Hernandez prisoner in his home, later moving her to a soundproof container on his property. Throughout, he forced her to wear a shock collar and endure psychological, sexual and emotional abuse throughout her ordeal.

For Hernandez, who served as an executive producer on the project, it was somewhat cathartic to see her story portrayed. She hopes it will be appreciated as a story of resilience, and teaching, should anyone find themselves in a similar horrific situation. "Obviously, it's a weird experience to have this happen in the first place," she shared while promoting the film. "Then to have it made into a movie is obviously an even weirder experience, but ultimately I did find it healing in a weird way to have it out there."

From the very beginning Lindsay Navarro, who portrays Hernandez, understood the gravitas of the project. "There was such a responsibility that came with it being a true story and knowing that Abby was a part of the project," she recalled. "That was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it. Knowing that Abby was on board, it was challenging in that way, but it made it easier knowing that I could get in touch with [her] and we could talk things through. I will be forever grateful [for] having her there, accessible on WhatsApp, and getting to video chat with her. It was challenging to walk through those scenes knowing that she had experienced this, and there was a weight that came with it."

Throughout Hernandez's disappearance, her mother Zenya had unwavering faith that her daughter was alive and would be returned one day, despite mounting public opinion that Abby had run away. Actor Erica Durance (pictured above) was tasked to bring Zenya to the screen and shared Hernandez's desire to educate viewers with the project. "Part of what I learned playing the part of Zenya, and in speaking with her, is the absurdity and the cruelty of life," she revealed. "And then the beauty that can come out of awful things. With Zenya, I found that she was just so incredibly powerful and strong.

"I was kind of awe-struck in dealing with her and talking to her," Durance continued. "Originally when I was going to do this, she [took me] through her whole experience, and [that] was incredibly generous of her. It was a three-hour phone call. But it's the human spirit and what we are capable of doing, or what we are capable of doing to each other, and how we are capable of finding our way around it in some way. I'm the actor playing it -- it wasn't my story -- [but] I think it will be really awe-inspiring for a lot of people."

Rounding out the principal cast is Ben Savage (Boy Meets World) as Nate Kibby, Abby's captor. Predominantly known for playing the nice guy, getting to go dark for his role as the villain in the piece was new territory and a welcomed challenge.

"Yeah, it was certainly a change of pace for me," Savage (pictured above and at top with Hernandez) shared. "It was certainly a departure and a very interesting role to play. But I thought it was such an important story to tell, and I was just happy to be a part of the storytelling. It's such a difficult subject and such a complicated story.

"Lindsay and I both wanted to be very careful about how we approached the subject and how we approached the relationship," he continued. "When we first started, we were both a little apprehensive about making sure we did this properly. I think everyone wanted to be sensitive to everything we were going through, and it was an interesting journey.

"I can't speak to what women can take away," he added. "But I think a larger message, that I certainly took away from it, was just strength of character. Everyone associated with this film was so impressed with Abby. There are some lessons to be learned here, and I'm just glad that we were all able to come together and tell this story as best we could."

"The tremendous courage Abby had and continues to have in being so passionate about sharing this is truly remarkable," said Navarro in closing. "I'm with Ben -- I think a lot of people are going to be inspired and will continue to be inspired by Abby's story. [We] were so careful about telling it as truthfully as we could. I think the takeaways in this are hope, the power of prayer, the power of faith and the power of not giving up."

Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez will be telecast Saturday, February 26 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.

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