Exclusive Interview

Ben Savage and Lindsay Navarro spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about bringing the real-life story of Abby Hernandez’s kidnapping to the small screen in Lifetime’s newest movie.

Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez tells the true story of 14-year-old freshman Abby Hernandez, played by Lindsay Navarro, who was kidnapped by a man named Nathaniel Kibby (Ben Savage) while walking home from school. Abby was kept in a soundproof container and forced to wear a shock collar as she endured psychological, sexual, and emotional abuse. Despite suffering daily torture, Abby never lost hope and was reunited with her family after 9 months.

For Ben and Lindsay, it was important to them to tell Abby’s story in the right way. “I think that both of us were very focused on making sure we told this story properly, sensitively, and delicately,” Ben told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I’ve grown up on sets, and I know Lindsay’s spent a lot of time on productions. A lot of sets are kind of happy and fun, but this was a somber set given the subject material. There was a lot of emotion and passion and a little bit of sadness because everyone was really experiencing the story and really getting into it. But that being said, I really enjoyed working with Lindsay, and I really enjoyed working with this entire production. Everyone was just helpful and professional and really helped help us tell the story properly.”

Lindsay Navarro
Lindsay Navarro as Abby Hernandez. (Lifetime)

Lindsay added, “We had such an enormous amount of respect for Abby and Zenya [Abby’s mother]. The entire crew did. So we were all unified in that, and I felt there was just a sweet sense of family almost between us all because we wanted to honor them in making sure we portrayed it correctly as Ben said.”

Abby served as an executive producer of the film, and both Ben and Lindsay were able to talk with her about her experience. “I wanted to speak with Abby because I wanted her to know Ben and not the character,” Ben noted. “It meant a lot to me to be able to speak with her before filming. I said, ‘I just want to introduce myself and let you know how honored and impressed we are with you and your inspirational story. I just wanted to establish a connection.’ After that, we really delved into the character and the script. We were filming in Canada. It was an intense experience, but I really do think that everyone endeavored to tell this story accurately and sensitively and everyone put so much into it. It’s really impressive.”

Lindsay and Abby first had a Zoom meeting to talk about the filming, and Lindsay continued to speak with Abby over the course of filming. “She was so supportive and so compassionate,” Lindsay told HollywoodLife. “I was just blown away. Personally, I didn’t know what to expect. I think I was probably perhaps a little bit more nervous because I didn’t know how to approach this. This is my first time portraying being someone in a true story and portraying someone like this. I was nervous, but she was just so, so incredible. I was so thankful to be able to speak with her and to have those conversations with her.”

Ben Savage
Lindsay Navarro and Ben Savage in ‘Girl In The Shed.’ (Lifetime)

Lindsay admitted that it was “difficult working through a lot of it emotionally and physically” when it came to what Abby endured. “It was all very demanding, but I just felt so blessed the entire time to be involved. She’s an amazing woman, so being able to portray her is something that I’ll always carry in my heart. But as for being able to separate myself and leave the work at work, I was able to do that through my own methods of prayer and journaling, and me taking space. When we were in between intense takes, I would just leave everything that was happening that I needed to for my sake, for my safety.”

After learning Abby’s story and playing her in the Lifetime movie, Lindsay revealed what she finds the most inspiring about Abby. “She never gave up faith that she would see her family again,” Lindsay said. “She held on to that, and I believe that gave her the courage and the strength to fight. Every day was full of so much horror for her, and the fact that she came out of that, overcame all of that and survived physically through that, but also she came out of that not identifying with that part of herself anymore. I think it’s so inspiring. To see that we are not our past, no matter how traumatic it is. We can be overcomers in that way. I was so touched by that and her story will always have a very special space in my heart.”

Ben Savage
Ben Savage as Nathan Kibby. (Lifetime)

Ben, in one of his most serious roles to date, hopes viewers will be educated by Abby’s experience. “I think it’s an important story to tell,” he said. “Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Hopefully, people can see this story and learn from it and take lessons from it. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned about Abby’s strength of character.” Girl In The Shed: The Kidnapping Of Abby Hernandez premieres on February 26 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.