Amazon announced on Thursday morning that the docuseries Lorena has officially been greenlit to begin production. The series is executive produced by Jordan Peele himself, and produced by Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Sonar Entertainment. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Joshua Rofé directs the four-part series that reveals the hidden truths in the notorious case of John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt by challenging the long-believed and -heard narrative surrounding the event. Lorena provides a new perspective on Lorena Bobbitt’s story, focusing on how one event laid the groundwork for the modern 24-hour news cycle and increasing sensationalistic media coverage.
The landmark case between John Wayne and Lorena Bobbitt sparked the first public interest in domestic abuse. With recent hit shows like Big Little Lies that focus on domestic abuse, Peele’s docuseries should be a compelling account. For those unfamiliar with this horrific incident, here’s the shortened version: Lorena Bobbitt (née Gallo) claimed she was raped by her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, on the night of June 23, 1993, which prompted her to sever her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife. There was much speculation that he had been physically assaulting her, and sexually and emotionally damaging her throughout their marriage. Once the case went to court, John Wayne Bobbitt denied the allegations, although while on the witness stand, it is said that his statements often contradicted each other. He was acquitted of the rape charge, but just years later in the early 2000s, he was arrested on battery charges for striking his then-wife, Joanna Farrell, though he was again acquitted. Interestingly, too, Lorena faced domestic abuse charges from her mother in 1997, but was found not guilty.
Now, 25 years later, Lorena is a groundbreaking re-investigation of the deep moral issues and painful human tragedies buried at the heart of this infamous American scandal. Lost in the tabloid coverage and jokes was the opportunity for a national discussion on domestic and sexual assault in America.
“Jordan has proven himself as a captivating voice of social critique and we are excited to work with him on this project,” said Heather Schuster, Head of Unscripted, Amazon Originals, in a statement. “Lorena reframes Lorena Bobbitt’s story around issues of sexism and domestic abuse and offers Prime members an exclusive new view into how America got her story wrong and maybe continues to get it wrong.”
“Our hope for this series is to give viewers pause when the next scandal of the moment is presented to us as macabre entertainment,” said Rofé. “Often, there’s profound pain and trauma just beneath the surface of stories like Lorena’s.”
“When we hear the name ‘Bobbitt’ we think of one of the most sensational incidents to ever be catapulted into a full-blown media spectacle,” said Oscar winner Peele. “With this project, Lorena has a platform to tell her truth as well as engage in a critical conversation about gender dynamics, abuse, and her demand for justice. This is Lorena’s story and we’re honored to help her tell it.”