Rob Lowe gets ugly as Drew Peterson in Lifetime original

To cast Rob Lowe as Drew Peterson, indicted wife killer and former cop, requires vision.

“I was very gratified they came to me with it because I don’t think on paper I would be in the top five guys you would think of,” Lowe says.

In Untouchable: The Drew Peterson Story (debuting Saturday, Jan. 21 on Lifetime) Lowe’s handsome self is camouflaged as the heavier and homelier disgraced cop. It took five hours to strip the color from his hair and dye it gray, Lowe says. Then there was makeup, and letting himself go.

“I just stopped all my activity,” Lowe says. “I ate what I wanted to eat. I put on as much weight as I could in the short time I had.

“There are scenes where they have me in a high-tech fat suit, at the end of the movie [when] I am doing a striptease,” he says. “When I did it I thought, ‘Boy, I don’t think it will work.’”

Untouchable is the true story of the Bolingbrook, Ill., cop who was married to his third wife when he became lovers with Stacy Cales, a woman 30 years his junior. Peterson’s wife was later found dead in the tub, her demise ruled an accidental drowning — curious given the lack of water in the tub.

Peterson was indicted and is imprisoned, awaiting trial, on charges of killing his third wife. Stacy, who became his fourth wife, has been missing since 2007 and is assumed murdered.

In the film, Lowe balances something tricky — creepy yet charming, at least to those swayed by swagger.

His costar who plays Stacy, Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory), says: “I think [Peterson] is the creepiest man on this planet, one of those chummy and fun guys who mess with the guys and flirt with the girls. [But] who doesn’t want to work with Rob Lowe?”

Determined to nail this part, Lowe studied news footage. “I heard Drew in my sleep, in my car, in the trailer,” Lowe says. “I just got a handle on this guy who thinks he is a big fish in a small pond, sort of the cock of the walk and picking the right sort of girl that he knows he can impress. Not only do they all almost look the same, but they are the same type. There is something really interesting in a smalltime lothario.”