Murder on the Cape Now available on DVD/VOD.

Posted September 28, 2017 by Eoin Friel in News

Directed by Arthur Egeli, this feature film gives an intimate look at the people behind the case that spooked the idyllic seaside town and made national headlines, revealing the true tragedy and loss of life and love.

Synopsis: MURDER ON THE CAPE is based on the true story of New York fashion writer Christa Worthington, who has an affair with a married fisherman while spending a winter holiday in Cape Cod. She returns two years later with his child looking to rekindle their love. When she is found murdered, a mystery unfolds within the tight-knit community, shedding doubt on the prime  suspect’s guilt.

Production​ ​Story
In the early days of January 2002, the grisly and shocking death of 46 year old fashion writer, Christa Worthington shook the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts like never before. The story  made national headlines for the tragic way that Christa’s body was discovered. It is estimated that she was lying dead in her Truro home for two days before she was found with her two year old daughter, Ava alive and beside her. However, it was not only this that sparked interest in the case. It was also the fact that nobody knew who had committed the awful act and anybody in the town could have been a suspect.

It was an event that changed Cape Cod, as it exposed the dark side of the seemingly blissful town that so many people flocked to in the summer time. Like many small towns, everyone had a  connection to the story somehow and had their own opinion as to who was the likely murderer. To this day, many believe that the man convicted of Worthington’s murder and who is serving life behind bars, Christopher McCowen is the wrong man and that the real murderer is still out there. In the early days following the discovery of Worthington’s body, many pointed the blame
at the father of her child, Tony Jackett whom she had had an affair with. Even though the affair was long since over, he found himself at the centre of the accusations despite the amicable relationship he and Worthington had. Although his innocence has long since been proven, it was his story that became the inspiration behind “Murder on the Cape” for writer/director Arthur Egeli. “Shortly after the murder in 2002, I saw Tony Jackett on TV. I had known him from years before because he had played a small role in a film I had done called The Art of Passion” says Egeli.
“I saw him being interviewed as the suspect in this crime, which I thought was ridiculous because I don’t know him that way.

The summer following I ran into him in Provincetown and he looked awful. He explained to me how he had had an affair and now he was a suspect in the murder and now they want custody of his daughter. Tony was running out of money and couldn’t pay for lawyers anymore. He felt totally wronged after the case and the way things turned out. The way he was made to look bad. It was like the media had painted these people a certain way and the stereotypes stuck. Tony felt like he never got to tell his version. That’s the way it kind of started”.Although he has only been living in Provincetown full time for four years, Egeli had been coming to the cape during summer since he was a young child with his parents.

As a local, he felt a duty to tell the film from the point of view of a local to give those who had been painted badly by the media a chance to tell their side of the story. While he felt it a challenge to adapt the story in order to be respectful, it is something that has felt rewarding for the filmmakers as well as for the people of Cape Cod. There has been a chance to be seen fairly and in a truthful way, as this is not what the media did. For this reason, Egeli wanted to focus the film more on the true story before Worthington’s passing rather than the murder, the ensuing case and the rumours. “I’m sure that’s interesting… most people can read about the case or watch a documentary about it. What they don’t get to see is that the heart of the story was a guy in a loving family struggling….there were all these personal struggles that you don’t see in a documentary about a crime” Egeli explains.

“The emphasis is the tragedy of the murder and not who did it, I think that is apparent” continues producer Judith Richland. “It’s the reason we didn’t go into more detail about what happened in the trial. The story is more about the tragedy”.It is for this reason that “Murder on the Cape” reveals itself as a tragic love story, rather than a murder mystery, with newcomer Josh Walther and Jade Harlow (of “Passions” and “The Bay” fame) playing the ill-fated lovers. The film is largely character driven, as it looks at the reasoning behind people’s actions with the backdrop of a true story. The film was shot entirely on location in Cape Cod over a four week period during off season, with crew being on location for three months. Jade Harlow, who portrays Elizabeth Baldwin (based on Christa Worthington), hopes that the film touches people and helps them connect to these characters. “I hope people take away that tragedy can touch anyone” she says. “No matter who
you are, or where you are. We’re all these vulnerable, fragile beings just trying to find our way”.

While Josh Walther, who’s character of Mike Luna is based on Tony Jackett, hopes that
people will watch “Murder on the Cape” and see a side of the infamous crime that you would not see in any type of news coverage. “Expect a movie based on the event, it’s not a documentary”, states Walther. “Look at the actual people in the story, not so much the facts that we can all look up on the internet. There is definitely some missing pieces to what really happened, maybe this
film makes people think of other possibilities”.

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About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I started The Action Elite a few years ago; it’s grown from strength to strength but now seems like the right time to expand. I’ve always loved different movie genres like horror, sci-fi and dramas so you’ll see a wide range of different movies covered here.