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'Finding Nicole': New film sheds light on the dangers of domestic violence

Posted at 3:47 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 06:05:31-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — One continuing story we’ve followed here on 7 Action News has been documented in a book called “Finding Nicole.”

Hollywood is now here, making it into a movie to reach and help more people.

The shoot has going on for weeks. The battle has been going on for years.

This starts as a Hollywood love story. A young couple marries and has two kids. Then it turns very dark and violent.

In 2009, Nicole Beverly tried to leave her abusive husband as she told us in a previous story.

“He proceeded to hit me with shoes, he kicked me and then he ended up holding a gun to my head,” said Beverly, a domestic violence survivor and advocate.

Beverly’s now ex-husband Kevin is in prison.

For the movie, the husband’s name will be Warren.

The violent scenes are still to be filmed.

Shomarie “Mari G” Giles gets to play the heavy and will do it thinking about his own daughter.

“It really, really grounds you into that and it's like you become something that's not even in you to be that way. You know, I don't act that way to anybody,” said Giles, who plays the abusive husband in the film.

Nexflix courted Beverly for her story.

But, Harley Wallen had a mutual attorney friend with Beverly and wanted to take on this project.

The project will also include how to get help.

Wallen is the film’s director and co-writer and was a child of domestic abuse at the hands of his father.

“The kids, there they get forgotten in these things and it is pretty traumatic. For me, it's different because I grew up my whole life not talking about this,” Wallen said.

His wife plays Beverly.

There’s a lot of pressure to get this right.

“It's jarring, it's a tearjerker. It's the stuff that has happened to her. You can't even make this up,” said Kaiti Wallen, who plays Beverly in the film.

Beverly's life story is still being written.

Her efforts to get an abuser registry, like the sex offender registry, died from a lack of action in the Legislature.

More abuse shelters are needed.

One win is a new law to keep victims' addresses, driver's licenses and professional licenses confidential.

“It took us about seven years to get the address confidentiality bill passed,” Beverly said about her work to create an abuser registry.

Beverly’s ex-husband is in prison until 2030 after attempting to hire ex-convicts to kill her and their two kids.

On the Michigan State Police website, the first incidents of domestic violence are misdemeanors.

That’s a continuing fight for Beverly.

“Because if a stranger assaults me, they're gonna get more time, they're gonna face harsher consequences than if my spouse or my boyfriend or my girlfriend assault me,” Beverly said.

The production schedule is ambitious to get it wrapped and in the can in time for the Cannes Film Festival next February.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, visit the state's website for resources.