Is 'Gone Girl' Based On The Laci Peterson Murder? The Two Cases Share Some Major Similarities
It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since the Laci Peterson murder. To mark the somber occasion, A&E is premiering a new series on Aug. 15, The Murder of Laci Peterson, which promises to further examine the disappearance and death of the 27-year-old, as well as the conviction of her husband, Scott Peterson, for her killing. Looking at the case now, it's hard not to draw comparisons to the 2014 thriller Gone Girl, since the movie shares many similarities with the case. But in reality, is Gone Girl based on the Laci Peterson murder?
In both the Peterson case and in Gone Girl, a woman goes missing and her husband is suspected of being responsible for her disappearance — especially after it's revealed that he was having an affair, and because of his seemingly undisturbed reaction to his wife's vanishing. Both the real case and the fictional one also receive heavy media coverage, something that takes a toll on the families of those involved. The biggest major difference between the two cases is that Laci Peterson was killed, and her husband was found guilty of the crime, while in Gone Girl, the woman who disappeared had set up the whole thing herself and did not die.
Despite their numerous similarities though, Gone Girl is not based on the Peterson case. The movie is instead based upon the novel of the same name by author Gillian Flynn, who found most of her influences not in real life, but in the works of other authors. In an interview with EW, Flynn named Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf as her main influence. "That idea that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ends with this very lethally entwined couple moving into a new phase because they destroy an imaginary child, and Gone Girl had Nick and Amy, a very lethally entwined couple, also moving to a new phase," the author explained. "Whether bad or good we do not know, because they actually are bringing to life an imaginary baby."
But just because Flynn didn't base Gone Girl on the Peterson case, that doesn't mean the similarities between the two are lost on her. In a separate EW interview, the author was asked by Lee if any real life cases inspired Gone Girl. "I definitely didn’t want to do anything specific. One could point to Scott and Laci Peterson — they were certainly a good-looking couple," she said. "But they’re always good-looking couples. That’s why they end up on TV. You don’t normally see incredibly ugly people who’ve gone missing and it becomes a sensation."
When writing Gone Girl, Flynn added, she focused on the media's response to that kind of tragedy. "In a way, I reverse-engineered some of it. What’s going to amp up the media’s interest in this, and what’s going to make it believable that the media’s going to descend on this?" she said.
So while Gone Girl isn't based specifically on The Peterson case, you're not alone in thinking the two cases are similar.