Thriller Safe Room, a movie directed by Boris Kodjoe, debuts on Lifetime January 15. Nicole Ari Parker plays widow Lila and Nik Sanchez her autistic son Ian. Kodjoe, who plays Robert Sullivan in Station 19, portrays their kindly neighbor Neil. Ian witnesses a break-in and records a murder, and intruders played by Mackenzie Astin and Drea de Matteo are intent on retrieving the video evidence.
“Hiding and trapped in a makeshift panic room created by her late husband, Lila and Ian must use all of their strength and intelligence to outsmart the intruders to save themselves,” according to Lifetime.
“The mother/son relationship is what attracted me to the script,” Kodjoe said at a Lifetime press event. “Obviously, there are circumstances that are high stakes and dangerous and suspenseful, which lent itself to heighten the stakes to the point where it’s life or death. But, to me, at the core was the mother and son relationship, because when you have a child on the spectrum, as a parent, you constantly put out fires. You deal with and you manage your child, and there’s a whole lot of things we project on our children. But throughout the movie the relationship between the mother and the son changes, and she really sees him in a different light, because he steps up and at the end, I can’t give it away, but really comes into his own.”
Kodjoe and Parker are married.
De Matteo, who played Adriana on The Sopranos, said her villain role was a welcome change. “I’m used to playing a victim, so it was nice to victimize somebody else,” she said. “There’s a real freedom that comes with being a psychopath. You’re just not careful about anything, nothing is calculated. Everything is just … it just all hangs out.”
Safe Room is produced by Astute Films for Lifetime. Executive producers include Dominique Telson and Karen Kaufman Wilson. Kodjoe directs from a script by Nneka Gerstle. ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.