Agnes Bruckner as Anna Nicole Smith.

Agnes Bruckner will play the title role in Anna Nicole, a Lifetime original movie.

Agnes Bruckner – who plays the title role in Anna Nicole, a Lifetime original movie which airs on Lifetime (DStv Channel 131) on Sunday 20 September at 20.00 – had to have a boob job to get the role of the voluptuous reality star.

Anna Nicole tells the story of Vickie Lynn Hogan, a Texas high school dropout and single mother with dreams of a better life. Realising the power of her beauty, Vickie accepts a job as a dancer at a topless bar, where she changes her name to Anna Nicole Smith and first makes her mark.

With a new persona and a shocking marriage to octogenarian millionaire J. Howard Marshall, Anna’s career blasts off when Playboy features her in a pictorial spread that evokes comparisons to Marilyn Monroe. But after her husband’s death, Anna’s financial support ends and her hard-partying ways, excessive drinking, drastic weight fluctuation and endless pill popping take their toll, inevitably setting the stage for the fading starlet’s tragic descent.

However, Bruckner, who calls herself “flat-chested”, didn't get breast implants. She wore prosthetic breasts and spent more than four hours every day during filming having the state-of-the-art prosthetics applied by three-time Academy Award-winner Greg Cannom, whose previous work includes turning Robin Williams into a woman in Mrs Doubtfire and Brad Pitt into an old man in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Says Bruckner: “In essence the film focuses on Anna Nicole’s story but we did have to use prosthetics in the form of a fat suit when it came to her weight gain as well as other amazing cosmetics. It does change your posture and it does make you feel different – and people react to you different. Personally it made me feel more vulnerable because everybody is looking at you and your every move, and for me it's very uncomfortable. But I think Anna loved that. She loved the attention; she loved men looking at her and admiring her.”

So does she feel any similarity with Anna Nicole: “She was a very loving person. She even loved people that were horrible to her and used her. I think she gave a lot of love and I can really relate to that because I love my family dearly. The journey that she went through was so crazy, and I think she was a really beautiful person. I think she's really a lost soul. There are so many different sides to her and we just really wanted to tell her story in Anna Nicole.”

Here are some facts about the famous and flamboyant Anna Nicole Smith:

  • As a teenager, Anna worked as a waitress at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in Texas, where she met and married Billy Wayne Smith, who was a cook at the restaurant. She was 17 and he was 16. They divorced eight years later.
  • Anna Nicole was Playboy's biggest Playmate of the Year! She holds the record for being the tallest and the heaviest playmate with the largest measurements.
  • In 1991, Smith met Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II while working at a club and three years later the couple were married. At the time, she was 26 and he was 89.
  • Anna Nicole was considered for the lead role in the 1994 Jim Carrey film The Mask, which eventually went to Cameron Diaz and helped launch the latter to A-list stardom.
  • However, in the same year (1994) Anna Nicole appeared in a Coen Brothers movie playing the role of Za-Za in The Hudsucker Proxy, sharing the screen with Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
  • In 2004, Smith appeared in a music video for Kanye West’s single The New Workout Plan.
  • Anna Nicole loved animals and posed for a PETA ad campaign developed in response to a Marie Claire survey that found men were turned off by women in fur coats.
  • Anna Nicole was buried in the Bahamas, next to her son Daniel, on 2 March 2007. She was buried in a tiara and a beaded pink gown. Joe Nichols sang her favourite country song Wings of a Dove and she was buried with a small urn of late husband Howard J. Marshall’s ashes.