Jaime King found the humanity at the center of a notorious true crime saga.
In the new Lifetime movie Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini, Jaime plays Sherri, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Sept. 2022 for faking her own kidnapping. In an exclusive interview with E! News, Jaime said she was motivated to move beyond the splashy headlines about Sherri's notorious case.
"I read a news story about Sherri and immediately thought that there were so many other layers that people are not exploring to this human being," Jaime told E! News' Francesca Amiker. "Frankly, it made me upset and it made me mad."
Jaime took issue with much of the media coverage surrounding Sherri's story, which become a shocking saga that garnered fascination across the country.
"You could see this woman that's seemingly beautiful and perfect," Jaime said, "and the way that they told her story was basically that she was this terrible, awful human being that did this horrific thing to her family and to the community."
In November 2016, Sherri was reported missing after she allegedly disappeared while jogging near her home in northern California. Just over three weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, Sherri was found wandering alongside a highway almost 150 miles away covered in bruises with a chain around her waist that was tethered to one of her wrists.
Law enforcement eventually determined that Sherri had fabricated the entire thing and, instead, had been staying with an ex-boyfriend in Southern California.
She later pled guilty to one count of lying to a federal officer and one count of mail fraud, and admitted the kidnapping was a hoax. At her sentencing hearing, Sherri insisted she would "work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done."
Jaime admits that Sherri, who began serving her prison sentence in November 2022, is certainly not without fault—but argued that Sherri's full story isn't that simple.
"She did make some horrific choices, absolutely," Jaime said. "But I felt like everybody has a reason for doing something. No one is a perfect individual. I just really needed to know more of the whys. I just don't like people being exploited."
Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini premieres Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.