Newest articles on Belle Gunness:Letters of Love From Belle
by JAN GULLAR FURULY
The Norwegian mass killer Belle Gunness shocked the United States 101 years ago. Now she goes to the movies in two competing projects, one with origins in Hollywood, and the other with the Norwegian filmmaker Linda Saetre.
One of the greatest mass murderers in the United States was the Norwegian Belle Gunness from Selbu. Most of her victims, she recruited through contact ads in Scandinavian-American newspapers, where she was searched by men for marriage.
"Our love is so great that no one will understand it. Do not tell anyone that you come! ". It sounded in several of the letters she sent her suitors. She asked them to sell everything they owned, and take the money with them for the new life they were to shape in La Porte, Indiana. No one knows exactly how many people Belle Gunness killed, but it is estimated over 40. Among them, two husbands, a group of men and her own children.
Already in 1908 a silent film was made about the remarkable Norwegian woman, and the fall of 2006 saw the TV2 documentary "Only Belle - a serial killer from Selbu" by Anne Berit Vestby. Now it’s time for "Lady Bluebeard", as she was called in the American press, to make her breakthrough on the big screen. First in line is the American producer, director and screenwriter Edward Bass. He says to Aftenposten that he is now negotiating with some of the leading actors for lead roles in the film “Belle.” According to Bass he can start filming in January. If everything goes according to plan, the film will premiere at the cinema in the United States in 2011.
Angelina Jolie is the first choice amongst Belle fans. She would be fantastic in the role of Belle Gunness. I can also see Kate Winslet. Belle was an unusually strong and fascinating woman, with many faces. This is no easy role to play, remember that she also killed her own children.
We need an actress with tremendous depth and versatility to fill this role.” Golden Globe-nominated Bass was the producer on the 2006 film “Bobby” - Emilio Estevez’s directorial debut- for which Bass was able to assemble a fantastic cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt, Harry Belafonte, Lindsay Lohan, Christian Slater and Elijah Wood.
“We have the right connections, and our team- Christopher Beatty, Harrison Kordestani, Michael Mailer and Hubert Gibbs- will ensure that this will be a significant and thought provoking production,” said Bass.
“I have worked carefully with this project for many years. I’ve received over 20 years of research from my co-writer (Eva Mayer), who is a descendent of those who bought the old Gunness property. During the development of the script, we have worked closely with experts on the psychology of mass murderers, sexual assault and murder investigation. Belle's a female version of Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. This is wonderful material, which should have wide audience appeal," said Bass.
He said that he has the Norwegian-descent actor Bjorn Johnson as co-producer, and believes it will ensure that the Norwegian dimension of the story will come forward. In addition to several feature- length films, Johnson has had roles in TV series like The Sopranos and Mad Men.
The story of Belle Gunness shook the entire United States when it was first known in 1908. The Norwegian immigrant's double life came to light a day after her house burned down in April of that year. In the ruins they found the bodies of Belle’s children, Myrtle (11), Lucy (9) and Philip (5) along with the body of an unidentified headless female.
Shortly after the fire, Asle Helgelien arrived in La Porte. He was looking for his missing brother Andrew whom he knew had corresponded with Belle Gunness through several letters. Asle started digging for answers and eventually found the corpse of his brother inside a hard sack on the Gunness property. It gave the start to an extensive police investigation, which uncovered 20 bodies buried on the site.
One of the lingering questions that has never been resolved, surrounds the mystery of headless body that was found in the burnt-out farm house. Was this really Belle, or the remains from another woman? A number of historians and scholars believe that this was in fact not Belle but the remains of a woman she murdered and planted in the farm house before she lit it aflame and disappeared. In 2008, researchers from the University of Indianapolis exumed the remains of a woman's body from a local cemetery. The body was tested for DNA traces, but DNA material did not give a clear answer to the riddle.