Reality rewrite for Luster pic

Fugitive's recent capture affects changes

A new ending is being written and the budget enlarged for “A Date With Darkness,” Lifetime’s telepic about Andrew Luster.

The fugitive, who was convicted in absentia of 86 counts of raping and drugging women and sentenced to 124 years in prison, was captured Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after five months on the run.

“Darkness” has been filming since June 1 in Victoria, British Columbia, starring Jason Gedrick (“Boomtown”) as Max Factor heir Luster and Marla Sokoloff (“The Practice”) as Connie, one of Luster’s date-rape victims. Bobby Roth is directing Christopher Canaan’s screenplay.

Producer Larry Thompson said there were five days left on the shooting sked when the news of Luster’s capture broke, and “we are scrambling to write and shoot the new ending” for the 9 p.m. Aug. 11 airdate.

Aud warning

In the original ending, a picture of the real Luster was to be screened, with audiences asked to be on the lookout for him and “to notify your local authorities should you see him.”

His capture and extradition back to the U.S. will be included in the film — and whatever further developments occur.

Thompson said Lifetime “is very supportive about the additions (financially). We are budgeting as you and I speak,” he said Thursday. Ironically, one of the pic’s original endings was a fictitious scene showing the fugitive Luster in a seedy “prison-like motel room with a bottle of tequila.” Life is indeed stranger than fiction.

The filmmakers insist their project was never planned as an exploitation movie, but rather “a cautionary story for unsuspecting women.” Luster’s victims were drugged with GHB, which leaves no trace in its victims; they had no memory of the attacks. However, Luster actually taped them under its influence.

Lifetime will coordinate making PSAs for RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) and the National Center for Victims of Crime as an addition to the movie.

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