Jacksonville Actress To Star In Upcoming Serial Killer Biopic

By Benjamin Cox on February 13, 2024 at 11:35am

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Turner.

A Jacksonville actress, make-up artist, and esthetician has also been cast in a film we recently reported about that’s being shot in Central Illinois.

The story of Derrick Todd Lee entitled The Baton Rouge Serial Killer is ramping up filming this Spring in Decatur. The film is being produced, directed, written, and starred in by former WWE superstar Bishop Stevens.

File photo of Geralyn DeSoto from WAFB 9

Mercedes DeSilva has been cast to play victim Geralyn DeSoto in the film. DeSoto was a 21-year old LSU graduate who was stabbed to death in her home in West Baton Rouge Parish in January 2002. She was considered to be Lee’s sixth known victim in a killing spree that spanned from 1993 to 2003.

DeSilva says that she was tagged by a friend of hers to Bishop Stevens’ production company’s casting call for the film: “I actually had a friend tag me in an audition post that Bishop Stevens had posted for actors to play the victims in the film. I just reached out and auditioned for the part and I got it. The producers wanted people that looked as similar as possible to the actual people. There were two that I think I could have portrayed, and we went with [DeSoto].”

DeSilva, who works as an esthetician at the Breathe Spa & Wellness Center in Jacksonville, has brought her love of make-up to set on a few previous projects. DeSilva previously worked with Loami filmmaker Ash Hamilton on his horror/sci-fi project shot on the old MacMurray College campus this past summer.

She says acting is something she’s always wanted to be a part of her life: “I always wanted to be just an all-around performer ever since I was very young. I wanted to be an actress, a singer, a dancer, and model…all of the things. When I was younger, I actually got to go to workshops. My mom tried to take me to auditions. I did some modeling and acting classes. I got to build up some knowledge in those areas. But then, life happened so I kind of put all of that on the back burner. I had two children, got married, and all of that, but I never gave up the dream. I always knew that one day I would still try to pursue it all. It’s been a really awesome experience this past year to meet all of the people and made connections, and opportunities that have arisen through everything.”

DeSilva says she’s not just limiting herself to one genre at this point in time. She’s hoping to expand into other genres as job offers and opportunities arise. For now, she says she hopes that she does the part of Geralyn DeSoto justice to honor the family and bring light to the ongoing violence against women, which a theme in the current film.

The Baton Rouge Serial Killer is expected to wrap shooting sometime this May with a release sometime later this year on all major streaming platforms.