In the first clip for Netflix’s upcoming doc Casting JonBenet – which premieres this weekend at Sundance, and will be available on the streaming site in April – several young girls dressed in patriotic pageant-wear line up in director’s chairs. The camera cuts to one sitting alone, who introduces herself: “My name is Hannah,” she says. “And I’m auditioning for the role of JonBenét Ramsey. Do you know who killed JonBenét Ramsey?”
The unsolved case of the six-year-old’s death and the discovery of her body in her Boulder, Colorado home continues to fascinate the public. It was the subject of several documentaries last fall, the 20th anniversary of her murder, including A&E’s The Killing of JonBenét and CBS’s Who Killed JonBenét?, which strongly suggested that her brother, Burke, was responsible. (An attorney for Burke currently has two lawsuits pending as a result, including a $750 million case against the network and some of the experts it featured.) In addition, there was a Lifetime movie – also called Who Killed JonBenét? – that largely stuck to the record of what happened in the days and weeks surrounding her death.
This film, however, promises to be unique, blending fact, memory and legend to create a “documentary hybrid” not just about the death of the six-year-old pageant queen, but, according to Netflix, one that “examines how this crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.”