Interview with survivors Kara Robinson and Elizabeth Smart about “The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 2/2/23
This was from a Lifetime Press Panel about 4 “Ripped From the Headlines” movies coming up. This part of the panel was odd because, rather than talking to any of the actors, we spoke with Kara Robinson (on whose experiences the movie is based) and producer Elizabeth Smart. Both of these women were kidnapped in 2004 when they were young teens. Frankly, I would have preferred to speak to the actors (like we usually do). The actress who plays Kara, Katie Douglas , did an amazing job in this movie. It’s kind of spooky how much she looks like the real-life Kara, too. Cara Buono, whom I know from “Mad Men” and so many other shows, plays her mom. I don’t set these panels up, though! I would like to say one thing: there is one scene where Kara is running and running, in a housing complex where everything looks the same, trying to get help. I have had a nightmare like that so many times! It’s an interesting movie, although a bit hard to watch. Of course, they do play up the uplifting parts, rather than anything too lurid or depressing. At any rate, you should watch the movie, and this panel is very interesting. Note that they call themselves “survivors” and not “victims.”
MORE INFO: Lifetime Official Site
15-year-old Kara Robinson (Douglas) was watering plants in her best friend’s front yard in South Carolina when she was approached by a man who put a gun to her neck and forced her into a plastic storage bin and drove off. He took Kara to his apartment where he held her captive and sexually assaulted her for 18 hours. With her survival instincts kicking in, Kara memorized as many details as possible throughout her ordeal and when her captor finally fell asleep, she escaped the restraints and fled his apartment. Kara was able to lead the police back to the apartment’s exact location and identify her captor as Richard Evonitz (Bruun), a serial killer who was also responsible for the unsolved murders of at least three other young girls. Cara Buono portrays Kara’s mother Debra.
Smart returns to Lifetime after narrating and executive producing the network’s highly rated 2018 film I Am Elizabeth Smart, and hosting the doc specials Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice and Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case which featured Smart leading a roundtable discussion with other well-known victims of abduction including Kara Robinson.
The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story is executive produced by Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley of Marwar Junction Productions, Howard Braunstein and Elizabeth Smart. The film is produced by Juliette Hagopian. Simone Stock directs from a script written by Haley Harris.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda