EXCLUSIVE: Starz is fast-tracking its ballet drama project, now titled Flesh And Bone. No formal green light yet, but the show, from executive producers Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown and John Melfi and creator/exec producer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad), has been actively casting, locking in four accomplished dancers for supporting roles. Additionally, Ethan Stiefel, star of the movies Center Stage and Center Stage: Turn It Up, has joined the project as consultant and choreographer. He is the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre from 1997-2012. Nationwide search for the lead role, Claire Robbins, continues, with more than 1,000 dancers already auditioned. Described as a dark and gritty exploration of the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world, Flesh And Bone follows a young ballet dancer, Claire, who has a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York. Cast in key supporting roles are former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, current American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky (Center Stage), Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner, and Emily Tyra (Boardwalk Empire).
“I want to be able to capture dance on film with complete integrity, authenticity and freedom,” said Walley-Beckett. “Not only are the dancers we’ve cast thus far brilliant company-level artists, but they’re also thrilling, intuitive actors.” Walley-Beckett, Bender and Brown all have strong connections to the ballet world. Bender and UTA-repped Walley-Beckett are former ballet dancers, and Brown’s family is made up entirely of former ballet dancers and was the basis for the 1977 feature The Turning Point.