DEADLINE – We’re The Millers and American Horror Story actress Emma Roberts is attached to star with UK comedian Jack Whitehall in Robots, a comedy feature in which a womanizer and a gold digger learn humanity when forced to team up and pursue robot doubles of themselves.
Anthony Hines will direct the film, which Rocket Science is launching international sales on at the Cannes virtual market now underway. CAA Media Finance, which arranged financing, reps domestic distribution rights.
Borat and Ali G writer Ant Hines and Casper Christensen penned the screenplay, which is based on the short story by science-fiction writer Robert Sheckley. Charles and Elaine, who trick people into relationships with illegal robot doubles of themselves, unwittingly use the scam on each other. Their robot doubles fall in love and elope, forcing Charles and Elaine to team up to hunt them down before the authorities discover their secret.
Stephen Hamel (Passengers), who developed the project under his Company Films banner, and Cassian Elwes (Mudbound) at Elevated, are producing.
“This project combines two of the genres I enjoy the most – sci-fi and comedy,” Hamel said. “It’s outrageously hysterical while providing unexpectedly sweet affirmations of our need for love and connection with each other. If two robots can fall in love, why can’t we!? Ant Hines is a powerhouse of talent and together with the dream team of Emma Roberts and Jack Whitehall, I couldn’t be more enthused.”
Added Elwes: “Ant and Casper have written one of the funniest scripts I’ve read in a while. Bringing in Jack Whitehall and Emma Roberts to star is a stroke of genius as they will be fantastic together. It’s very exciting to work on such an original film.”
Roberts is repped by CAA and Sweeney Entertainment, Whitehall with CAA and United Agents. Hines and Christensen are repped by ICM Partners.
THR – The Disney-owned, younger-skewing cable network on Wednesday also unveiled an edgy new brand campaign during its second annual Summit in Los Angeles.Freeform on Wednesday announced plans to enter the animated space, unveiled an edgy new brand campaign and touted its upcoming slate during its second annual Summit in Los Angeles.
“At Freeform, our programming is meant to inspire, empower and celebrate the possibility of youth culture — we are in service to an audience that is paving the way and fighting for a more inclusive tomorrow and we are so honored to be representing them on and off screen,” said president Tom Ascheim.
The Disney-owned, younger-skewing cable network has put a pair of animated comedies — Betches from executive producer Emma Roberts (American Horror Story) and Woman World from executive producer Felicia Day — into development.
Betches is an irreverent series that follows three best friends and roommates as they navigate early adulthood in New York. Based on the multimedia brand of the same name, Rachel Koller will pen the script and exec produce alongside Betches Media co-founders Samantha Fishbein, Jordana Abraham and Aleen Kuperman. The potential series hails from Bunim-Murray Productions (The Real World) and exec producers Gil Goldschein, Carli Haney and Kesila Childers.
Freeform’s entry into the animation space comes as the genre has been on fire of late with Netflix, Hulu and Fox all aggressively adding new series. Animation, in success, has the potential to deliver billion-dollar franchises a la Family Guy and The Simpsons. What’s more, animated series including Rick and Morty and Bob’s Burgers remain powerhouses on streaming platforms. Netflix has gone so far as to launch its own animation studio so it no longer needs to outsource the costly process of creating the physical animation.
Emma Roberts, ‘This Is Us’ Star Justin Hartley & Glenn Howerton Join Damon Lindelof’s Thriller ‘The Hunt’
DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, and Glenn Howerton and have signed on for the Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse-penned politically charged action thriller The Hunt from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions. Z for Zachariah helmer Craig Zobel, who previously collaborated with Lindelof and Cuse on HBO’s The Leftovers, is set to direct the film, which is being produced Jason Blum and Lindelof, under his White Rabbit banner. Cuse and Zobel will serve as executive producers.
The Hunt is slated hit theaters October 18 via Universal. No word on the film’s plot but we hear it explores escalating aggressiveness between the political right and left in America.
Universal execs Erik Baiers, Jay Polidoro, and Mika Pryce will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Roberts is reprising her role as Madison Montgomery in the eighth season of FX’s American Horror Story: Apocalypse. On the film side, She most recently starred in Billionaire Boys Club, Little Italy, and Paradise Hills, which had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. She can be heard in STX’s upcoming family animation film, UglyDolls. Roberts is repped by CAA and Sweeney Entertainment.
VARIETY – Emma Roberts is set to star in Netflix’s romantic comedy “Holidate,” produced by McG’s Wonderland Productions.
“Malibu’s Most Wanted” helmer John Whitesell is directing, with Tiffany Paulsen penning the script.
The story follows Sloane (Roberts) and Jackson, two perpetual singles who hate the holidays since their continual lack of a significant other subjects them to the judgment of their family members or stuck with clingy, awkward dates. After they meet, however, they pledge to be each other’s plus-ones for each holiday celebration over the course of one year.
McG will produce along with Mary Viola through their Wonderland shingle. Producers are looking to cast the role of Jackson, with hopes to start production later this year.
The project is the fifth collaboration between Netflix and Wonderland, who is currently in production on the comedy “Tall Girl” for the streaming giant. The production company also handled Netflix films “The Babysitter,” “When We First Met,” and the upcoming family action film “Rim of the World.”
Roberts was most recently seen in FX’s “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” as well as “Paradise Hills.” She also lent her voice to the upcoming STX animated pic “UglyDolls.” She is repped by CAA and Sweeney Entertainment.
Paulsen, who is repped by Verve and Industry Entertainment, is developing a handful of projects including another untitled rom-com for Netflix.
DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Emma Roberts has departed Spinning Out, Netflix’s recently announced edgy drama series set in the world of competitive figure skating.
A rep for the actress told Deadline that Roberts is not proceeding with Spinning Out due to a scheduling conflict with another project. Netflix confirmed that they are moving forward with Spinning Out, with the lead role being recast. The Internet network declined further comment but I hear that Lily Collins had been in negotiations for the part.
As for Roberts, everyone is mum on her new project; I hear it’s another series.
On Spinning Out, Roberts was to have played the lead, Kat Baker. Created by Samantha Stratton (Mr. Mercedes), a former competitive figure skater herself, Spinning Out centers on Kat Baker, an up-and-coming, high-level single skater who’s about to turn in her skates after a disastrous fall took her off the competition track. When Kat seizes an opportunity to continue her career as a pair skater with a talented bad-boy partner, she risks exposing a fiercely kept secret that could unravel her entire life. On and off the ice, Kat and her new partner will face daunting odds, injury to body and soul, financial sacrifice, and even potential mental breakdown on their way to realizing their Olympic dream.
Stratton and Lara Olsen executive produce and serve as co-showrunners on the series. Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold executive produce via Safehouse Pictures. The company’s Matt Schwartz serves as co-executive producer.
Roberts most recently wrapped production on Paradise Hills, the directorial debut of Spanish helmer Alice Waddington. This fall, she co-stars in the eighth season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Apocalypse on FX. She is repped by CAA and Sweeney Entertainment.