A trip quickly turns tragic in Lifetime's new based-on-real-events film "A Murder to Remember."

Premiering at 7 p.m. Sunday, the movie is inspired by Ann Rule’s true crime collection "Empty Promises."

"Javier and Robin Rivera are celebrating their one-year anniversary on a camping trip. But when Javier ends up dead, Robin finds herself alone in the rough wilderness," according to the film's synopsis. "She accepts help from another camper, a mysterious stranger named Sam and slowly places her life in his hands. But is Sam there to protect Robin? Or does she need protecting from him?"

Up-and-coming Denham Springs actress Maddie Nichols plays Robin. Viewers may recognize Nichols from her guest-starring appearances on TV series including "9-1-1," "Hawaii Five-0" and "The Outsider." The Baton Rouge-born 20-year-old's credits also include the 2019 horror flick "Darlin'," which debuted at that year's South by Southwest Film Festival; and John Schneider projects "Like Son" and "Anderson Bench." Her latest work will be seen in the upcoming, locally-shot indie film "Daisy and Smiling Jack."

Nichols discussed her life and budding career prior to "A Murder to Remember's" premiere.

You started acting as a child. How did you juggle that and school? What school did you attend or were you homeschooled?

I attended Denham Springs Freshman High School for a few months and eventually transferred to online school so I could travel for work more often. 

How did you get into acting? What is it that you most like about it?

I was a shy kid, so I started acting 10 years ago to help ease that. My favorite part about acting is collaborating with interesting people to help share a story.

Tell me about your first TV or movie acting experience?

My first acting experience was in a class at a local theater, but I quickly learned that my voice was too soft to carry throughout a theater. My mom suggested we look for movie work on Actors Access and I landed my first gig. It was a student short film that was never completed, but during the shoot my mom met a very good friend who helped us find a local coach, Debby Gaudet, and her classes, as well as Ashton Leigh (a New Orleans actress). I not only learned the fundamentals of camera acting but also found an amazing community of actors and lifelong friendships.

Describe your character of Robin in the upcoming Lifetime movie.

"A Murder to Remember" is based on a true story. I play Robin, a strong, sweet woman who went through a horrifying experience on her first anniversary with her husband. She is incredibly brave and I look up to her. In the face of adversity, she fights for her power back.

When and where did you shoot the Lifetime movie? How long did it take?

"A Murder to Remember" was shot a little outside of Atlanta, March 3-18. We planned to have two more days of filming, but it was cut short due to the pandemic.

I see that the film unfolds on a camping trip. Do you like camping? Explain a little.

Not really! I do love the occasional trip to enjoy nature and its scenery, but definitely appreciate the comforts of the indoors.

Veteran actress Robin Givens is directing this one. How would you describe her as a director?

Robin Givens is a wonderful director! Because of her experience with acting, she could really push and direct me on another level. I consider myself lucky for having worked with her, especially with a project as intense as this one when I needed someone I could trust completely.

You also worked with fellow Louisiana actor T.C. Matherne ("Godzilla: King of the Monsters," "True Detective" and "The First") on "A Murder to Remember." Have you two worked together before? How was the experience?

T.C. Matherne (who plays Sam) is incredibly talented. It's crazy how truly disturbing he portrays his character in the movie, but in real life he is such a sweetheart!

Can you tell us a little bit about "Daisy and Smiling Jack"?

"Daisy and the Smiling Jack" is about Daisy, a 39-year-old, good-natured librarian, who desperately wants to have a baby. She meets Jack, the creative man of her dreams only to find out he does not want to have children. Daisy is played by Jency Griffin Hogan, and let me just say that she killed this role. Her performance is so wonderfully executed you can tell exactly what she's thinking and feel exactly what she's feeling when you watch it.


'A Murder to Remember'

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday

CHANNEL: Lifetime

INFO: mylifetime.com/movies/a-murder-to-remember


Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.