Steve Guttenberg plays the husband in "How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story." File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Steve Guttenberg said the ill-fated husband he plays in How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story, premiering Saturday on Lifetime, ignored warning signs of Nancy's (Cybill Shepherd) mental state.
The TV movie is based on a true story. Nancy was convicted of murdering Daniel (Guttenberg) on May 25, 2022.
"I'm not sure if they were in therapy or not," Guttenberg, 64, told UPI in a recent phone interview. "Maybe if she had some more professional help, it wouldn't have happened."
Daniel was a chef and instructor at the Oregon Culinary Institute. Nancy was an aspiring romance novelist who wrote a blog titled, "How to Murder Your Husband" before Daniel's death.
The movie shows how financial troubles strained the Brophys' marriage. Daniel remained optimistic and encouraging, which Guttenberg did not attribute to his avoidance of Nancy's troubles.
"I actually think he was an optimistic person, which there are in this world, and we need more of them," Guttenberg said. "He had an ability to be somebody who was looking for the silver lining all the time."
Guttenberg said he thinks Daniel's priority was his marriage. Guttenberg said people in relationships with alcoholics similarly may ignore warning signs of their partners' troubles.
"I think that he was in love with this woman and he wanted his marriage to work," Guttenberg said. "It happens with alcoholism. You know that something is going on with someone you love but you're not able to help."
The title of the film, and the real-life court case, confirm that Daniel dies in the film. It is not, however, the first death scene Guttenberg ever filmed.
Though Guttenberg is best known for the comedies Police Academy and Three Men and a Baby, he played a character murdered by Gregory Peck's character in the 1978 drama, The Boys From Brazil. Guttenberg recalled begging director Franklin J. Schaffner to allow him to die with his eyes open.
"He said, 'All right, Guttenberg. I'll let you keep your eyes open, but if you blink, I'm gonna beat the [expletive] out of you,'" Guttenberg said. "I actually did blink. He said, 'I'm going to give you a freebie on this one and not beat the [expletive] out of you.'"
For How to Murder Your Husband, Guttenberg closed his eyes when Daniel was shot in his kitchen. To portray Daniel in life, Guttenberg said he read articles and watched videos about Daniel teaching at the Culinary Institute.
"I had enough time to study his movements, his attitude and the way he dealt with people," Guttenberg said. "He was actually pretty withdrawn in his personal life."
Guttenberg said he also understands he found a popular niche in comedies, and embraces the chance to challenge himself with dramas. He cited The Bedroom Window, The Day After and stage work in Furthest From the Sun and Prelude to a Kiss among his dramas.
"I want to be a better actor," Guttenberg said. "Maybe I don't forgive myself for not being Marlon Brando. But I ended up Steve Guttenberg, and I'm really happy with being Steve Guttenberg."
Guttenberg said he still hears talk about reviving Police Academy or Three Men and a Baby. The latter has a Disney+ remake in development starring Zac Efron.
Guttenberg said he supports new takes on those franchises, but hopes room still exists for him to play Officer Mahoney or bachelor co-parent Michael Kellam. Guttenberg said he feels as protective of his own characters as Harrison Ford does of Indiana Jones.
"I'm the same way with Mahoney or Michael in Three Men and a Baby," Guttenberg said. "That's my part. I don't want anybody else playing it."
How to Murder Your Husband: The Nancy Brophy Story airs Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on Lifetime.