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This is how Escaping The Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story almost ended

Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story had an alternate ending. Pic credit: Lifetime

On Saturday, Lifetime aired Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly story. Christina Ricci played the 19th century reporter who went undercover in an mental institution. 

Early cuts of The Nellie Bly Story were even more scathing, according to costar Josh Bowman. Spoiler alert for those who have not seen The Nellie Bly Story yet, Bowman told Monsters and Critics about the original ending.

“There is an ending of a character’s arc that sadly was omitted for whatever reason,” Bowman said. “It was good.”

Josh Bowman imagined what a Victorian psychiatrist would act like. Pic credit: Lifetime

Okay, are you ready? In the original ending, the corrupt Matron Grady (Judith Light) died by her own hands.

“Matron Grady commits suicide,” Bowman said. “She jumps out of the building, jumps out of the window. She now gets arrested.”

Hopefully the original ending will be seen when Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story is released on home video. If it never sees the light of day, Bowman described how Matron Grady’s suicide was presented.

Dr. Josiah (Josh Bowman) is trying to gaslight Nellie Bly (Christina Ricci), and movies like Gaslight didn’t even exist yet! Pic credit: Lifetime

“It doesn’t impact my character but I think for dramatic purposes, the image was fantastic what they shot,” Bowman said. “It was a great image of her bravely just walking, shot from behind. Visually I’m talking, not emotionally. Emotionally she kills herself. That’s full on. I personally think that was the perfect ending but they got rid of it.”

Reshoots and recuts are an inevitable part of filmmaking. And inevitably, the actors can be frustrated when the script they read and filmed ends up differently on screen.

“I think a shooting script should be a shooting script but that’s just me,” Bowman said. “I’m an actor. What do I know?”

We’ll have more about Lifetime original movies airing in January and February, featuring interviews with the stars, here on Monsters and Critics. 

Fred Topel has been a journalist since 1999. Over the decades he’s written for About.com, Hollywood.com, CraveOnline, Rotten Tomatoes and Slashfilm. Fred brings Monsters and... read more

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