‘Girl In Room 13’ Director Elisabeth Röhm: Anne Heche Gave This Role ‘Everything She Had’

'Girl In Room 13' director spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about the late Anne Heche's 'phenomenal' performance and tackling human trafficking in this 'important' film.

Anne Heche
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Image Credit: Lifetime

Girl In Room 13 will mark one of Anne Heche’s final roles. The actress sadly passed away on August 11 at the age of 53. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the Lifetime movie’s director Elisabeth Röhm about working alongside the late actress.

Anne Heche
Anne Heche in ‘Girl In Room 13.’ (Lifetime)

“We had a great relationship, and we were both equally committed to collaborating on this project. I know she was very proud of this film, and she gave it everything she had. Her performance is phenomenal,” Elisabeth said.

Anne died after her car crashed into a home on August 5. Both the car and the home caught fire. It took firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish the flames and extract Anne from the car. The actress was in a coma for a week before being declared legally dead. She died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

Girl In Room 13 was a project that meant so much to Anne. The film addresses the important and relevant topic of human trafficking. Grace, played by Larissa Dias, is held captive by her ex in an attempt to sell her into human trafficking. Janie, played by Anne, stops at nothing to find her daughter. She uncovers the dark world of human trafficking and the shocking statistics about its widespread victims.

Elisabeth noted that she’s become “really inspired by Lifetime’s commitment to stop violence against women,” and that’s why she wanted to direct Girl In Room 13. “They are telling the tough stories, and they’re not doing it in a way that’s irresponsible… This is a very difficult topic. It’s a confusing topic. It’s a massive topic. It’s a $150 billion topic and millions of victims — men, women, and children — suffer because of human trafficking. This is our attempt at telling a small part of that story. I love directing and acting for Lifetime because I feel they take a deep sense of responsibility around these stories. The Girl In series also specifically gets into some of the tougher topics, so we look forward to sharing this film with the world and hope it makes an impact.”

Anne Heche
Anne Heche and Larissa Dias in ‘Girl In Room 13.’ (Lifetime)

For the role of Grace, Elisabeth specifically reached out to Larissa about the film after having worked with her previously. The director was continually impressed with how the actors approached the material. “Every single day, they all came to set giving it everything they had to tell this important story about this major issue,” she told HollywoodLife. She added, “The actors were brave and truthful and committed to the bigger cause at hand.”

In addition to the film, Lifetime will be launching a PSA to draw attention to Polaris and the Human Trafficking Hotline to connect victims with survivors. “It’s a totally confidential hotline. We want to continue telling this narrative through this film to try to make an impact,” Elisabeth noted. “The statistics are staggering — 25 million, they estimate, victims throughout the world, and they’re all very unique stories. This was our version of telling a story, and one that is far too common.” Girl In Room 13 airs September 17 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.

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