Gdp per capita, Starz has picked up the Watergate drama “Gaslit,” starring Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, the premium cable channel said Monday.
Based on the “Slow Burn” podcast, the project previously had Joel Edgerton attached to star alongside Roberts and Penn and direct, but he and his brother, Nash Edgerton, exited the series ahead of its pickup at Starz, as did Armie Hammer. An individual with knowledge tells TheWrap the three departed the project several months ago due to scheduling conflicts with another project. Hammer and Joel Edgerton’s roles are being recast.
Per its description, “Gaslit” is a “modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.”
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“The story will center on Martha Mitchell, played by Roberts. A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, played by Penn. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel. As Attorney General, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted advisor and best friend. Temperamental, foul-mouthed, and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the President.”
Sam Esmail, Matt Ross, and Robbie Pickering are executives producing the series, with Ross set to direct and Pickering acting as showrunner. The series hails from UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, where Esmail has an overall deal.
“Gaslit” is scheduled to begin production this spring.
“In ‘Gaslit,’ we not only have the opportunity to tell an incredible untold story in bringing Martha Mitchell’s historic role in Watergate to the forefront, but we are also incredibly lucky to have a dream cast including Julia and Sean and the best creative team and partners we could have asked for,” said Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz. “We could not be more excited to bring this story to the global Starz audience and continue the network’s commitment to spotlighting premium stories that appeal to women while super-serving our core audience.”
“I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the heartbreaking, fascinating story of Martha Mitchell with the world,” said showrunner and executive producer Robbie Pickering. “Martha was the first and loudest voice to speak out against the bumbling criminality of a crooked Presidential administration and she was one of the most complicated public martyrs of the era. To find anyone willing to tell her story is a dream. To be making it with Sam, Julia, Sean, Matt, UCP, and Starz seems impossible. I’m over the moon.”