15 Celebrities Who Have Starred in Lifetime Movies

Lifetime
Lifetime

From classic titles like the Tori Spelling-starrer Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? to an abnormally vast collection of Christmas movies starring Dean Cain, pop culture (and movie punch lines) wouldn't be the same without the hundreds of Lifetime Movies we have come to know and love. Though the made-for-TV movies originally ran on the regular Lifetime channel, on June 29, 1998, the network gave these so-bad-they're-good films their very own platform with the launch of the Lifetime Movie Network, or LMN (which today goes by the truncated Lifetime Movies moniker).

To celebrate 20 years of bad-ass women getting revenge and real-life crime stories being played out in semi-fictional—and often overly dramatic—ways, we're paying tribute to 15 celebrities who've lent their acting talents to Lifetime movies.

1. AND 2. WILL FERRELL AND KRISTEN WIIG

The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate, or suspicious: On April 1, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig had secretly filmed a Lifetime movie. “This is no April Fools’ joke,” the story began, then went on to explain that the movie, titled A Deadly Adoption, would see Ferrell and Wiig playing a well-to-do couple who open their home to a pregnant young woman “with the hopes of adopting her unborn child—then things quickly go awry .”

Just as quickly as the news made headlines, Entertainment Weekly issued its own exclusive that because the “top secret” project had leaked, they were now killing it entirely ... which was followed by another “exclusive,” this time from The Wrap, that Ferrell’s denial was likely just a ploy. That final report turned out to be correct; in June of the same year, audiences got to sink their teeth into the slightly tongue-in-cheek adoption drama.

3. ROB LOWE

Rob Lowe has clearly caught the Lifetime bug. After taking on the title role in 2012’s Drew Peterson: Untouchable—about the Chicago police officer accused of killing one wife and making a second one disappear—he returned a year later to play Florida prosecutor Jeff Ashton in Prosecuting Casey Anthony. In January, Lowe returned to the estrogen-charged channel to play Miami playboy—and heir to the Fontainebleau hotel fortune—Ben Novack, Jr., who was brutally murdered (along with his mother) at the behest of his wealth-seeking wife (a former stripper). What would Sam Seaborn say?

4. KALEY CUOCO

Speaking of Drew Peterson: that wife he made disappear? That would be Stacy Peterson, who was portrayed by The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco in the 2012 movie.

5. REESE WITHERSPOON

In 1991, the same year that Reese Witherspoon made her big-screen debut in The Man in the Moon, the future Oscar-winner—then all of 15 years old—starred alongside fellow future Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette in Diane Keaton’s feature directorial debut, Wildflower, about a youngster (Witherspoon) who befriends an abused and partially deaf girl (Arquette).

6. HILARY SWANK

In between The Next Karate Kid and Beverly Hills, 90210, Hilary Swank logged some time on the set of 1997’s Dying to Belong. Swank plays an aspiring sorority sister who is haunted by a Hell Week hazing that ends in the death of her friend. Though it’s ruled a suicide, Swank isn’t buying it and is determined to find the truth (regardless of whether anyone believes her). Three years later, Swank won an Oscar. (Five years after that, she won a second Oscar.)

7. ZAC EFRON

Mary-Louise Parker is a single mother to twin sons who’ve been diagnosed with autism in 2004’s Miracle Run (The Unexpected Journey), which is based on a true story. Zac Efron plays one of those sons, whose dreams are championed by his mom. (Cue the waterworks.)

8. KIRSTEN DUNST

Before there was 16 & Pregnant, there was Fifteen and Pregnant, a 1998 Lifetime movie in which the cute little bloodsucker from Interview with the Vampire gets pregnant, much to the embarrassment of her family. But over the next nine months, what began as a fracture turns into a bond. Who’s ready for a group hug?

9. MARCIA GAY HARDEN

Marcia Gay Harden has never let a little thing like an Oscar win stand in her way when it comes to saying “yes” to a Lifetime movie. She’s one of the channel’s most beloved veterans, working on both true crime biopics like 2011’s Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy and somewhat campier entries like 2004’s She’s Too Young, about a mom who discovers her seemingly perfect daughter is getting up to all sorts of sexual shenanigans with her friends.

10. HAYDEN PANETTIERE

Playing the titular role in Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy—and Marcia Gay Harden’s daughter—is former Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, who herself is a Lifetime movie vet. In 1999, she starred in If You Believe, playing the Christmas-loving inner-spirit of a frazzled book editor in this Lifetime play on A Christmas Carol.

11. KRISTEN BELL

In 2004—the same year that Veronica Mars debuted—Kristen Bell nabbed the title role in Gracie’s Choice, about a teenage girl who becomes a surrogate parent to her four younger siblings when their drug addict mom is carted off to jail.

12. KERI RUSSELL

Two years before her star-making turn in Felicity, Keri Russell dug her nails into the role of a teenage Lolita in 1996’s The Babysitter’s Seduction. The title may sound self-explanatory, but there’s even more to it: Yes, the babysitter gets seduced. But she also gets embroiled in a murder investigation.

13. KIM BASINGER

In 2006, nearly a decade after winning an Oscar for L.A. Confidential, Kim Basinger starred in The Mermaid Chair, Lifetime’s adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s novel about a wife who finds herself falling in love with a Benedictine monk.

14. CHRISTINA HENDRICKS

Four years before she became Mad Men’s resident bombshell Joan Holloway, Christina Hendricks starred in Hunger Point, a 2003 movie about a weight-obsessed family (with Hendricks stuck in the middle).

15. CHRISTINA RICCI

Like The Client List before it, Lifetime’s 2014 movie Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, starring Christina Ricci as the famously homicidal young woman of the title, proved popular enough with audiences to be turned into a series, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.

The Office Star Ellie Kemper Wants to Do a Reunion Episode

NBC - NBCUniversal Media
NBC - NBCUniversal Media

While rumors of The Office getting a reboot have been swirling around for years, the outlook on that happening any time soon doesn't look good. But a reunion episode might just be possible.

Ellie Kemper, who played Erin Hannon in the beloved series, recently stopped by Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen to dish about the sitcom and her thoughts on whether it might be making a return to the small screen: "I would love there to be a reboot, but I don't think there will be. So, that's a sad answer," Kemper admitted. "But maybe like a reunion episode? That would be fun."

E! News reports that Kemper isn’t the only cast member that wants to get the band back together. Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, also thinks a reunion episode would be a hit. “I think it's a great idea," Fischer said in 2018. "I would be honored to come back in any way that I'm able to.”

A key player in the series' success, however, is not so enthusiastic about the idea. Steve Carell, who played the infamous Michael Scott, doesn’t think a revival would be well-received. "The climate's different," Carell told Esquire back in 2018. "I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he's certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That's the point, you know? But I just don't know how that would fly now.”

A Star Wars Connection Might Predict Jim Hopper's Future in Stranger Things

Netflix
Netflix

*Warning: This story includes spoilers for Stranger Things.*

Netflix’s Stranger Things is set in the 1980s and regularly includes references to huge cultural phenomena from that time. The series' third season made nods to Back to the Future, The NeverEnding Story, and (unsurprisingly) Star Wars. What might come as a surprise is that George Lucas's legendary space opera could hold a clue to what fate awaits one of Stranger Things's most beloved characters.

One of the major lingering questions from Stranger Things's third season is whether we will see David Harbour's character, Jim Hopper, ever again. Our favorite grumpy sheriff selflessly sacrificed himself in order to defeat the Russians and close the gate to the Upside Down. Fans were almost certain of his death (though it’s not shown on screen) until the post-credits scene rolled, in which the Russians speak of “the American” being held in their cells. Which is where things get interesting …

A new theory from Politico’s Bill Kuchman, which we spotted via Men’s Health, draws parallels between Hopper and Star Wars's Han Solo. In doing so, he might have predicted Hopper’s fate.

Kuchman explains that both Hopper and Solo use the phrase “See you in hell” before meeting their demise, with the Stranger Things character saying it in the final episode of season 3, and Solo saying it in The Empire Strikes Back.

On top of that, both characters seemingly die via a machine: Hopper is part of the key’s explosion, and Solo is frozen in carbonite. Also, at the end of the Stranger Things season 3 finale, Steve Harrington (played by Joe Keery) makes a reference to Return of the Jedi during his video store interview, the film in which Solo is revived.

Kuchman drives this point home by recalling that Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian save Solo in Return of the Jedi when Jabba the Hutt is feeding prisoners into the Sarlacc Pit. This is similar to how Stranger Things season 3 ends, with the Russians feeding prisoners to the Demogorgon.

Will Eleven, Mike, and the gang find the Force and save Hopper from the Russians? We’ll hopefully find out, if and when a fourth season of Stranger Things ever materializes.

[h/t Men's Health]

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