Cruel Intentions, NBC’s drama project based on the the cult 1999 movie starring Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar, has been picked up to pilot. The project, which tells the story of Bash Casey, the son of the characters played in the film by Phillippe and Witherspoon, originally had a script commitment plus penalty.
Cruel Intentions comes from the film’s writer-director Roger Kumble and producer Neal H. Moritz as well as Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross, the duo behind the The Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Cruel Intentions, whose staging at Los Angeles’ Rockwell Table & Stage in May generated buzz and drew Kumble, Witherspoon, Gellar and co-star Selma Blair who all attended. Kumble gave Rosin and Ross his blessing for the musical and had stayed in touch with the duo since.
Set in present day, Cruel Intentions picks up more than 15 years after the movie left off. The description of the project deviates slightly from the one provided at the time of the sale with the introduction of a strong female character, Bash’s aunt — played in the movie by Geller — whose relationship with her nephew draws parallels to the one she had with his father (and the relationship between Glenn Close and John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons).
NBC’s Cruel Intentions follows the beautiful and cunning Kathryn Merteuil as she vies for control of Valmont International as well as the soul of Bash Casey, the son of her brother, the late Sebastian Valmont, and Annette Hargrove. Upon discovering his late father’s legacy in a hidden journal, Bash is introduced to a world of sex, money, power and corruption he never could have imagined.
Kumble, whose Cruel Intentions feature screenplay was based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos, wrote the TV script with Rosin and Ross. Kumble, who has been working as a TV episodic director for the past five years, also is set to helm the pilot. He executive produces with Moritz and Pavun Shetty of Original Film through the company’s overall deal at Sony TV; Rosin and Ross co-executive produce.
Sony Pictures TV, whose sibling Columbia Pictures produced the movie with Moritz’s Original Film, is producing the TV adaptation alongside Original Film and AMBI.
The 1999 movie was a boxoffice success, grossing $75 million on a $10.5 million budget and helped establish the careers of its young stars.
Movie adaptations were a hot commodity this pitch season. This is the third to get to the pilot stage, joining Training Day at CBS and Frequency at the CW.
Following the success of their Cruel Intentions musical, which held 38 sold-out performances, Rosin and her producing partner Ross also wrote and staged an Unauthorized OC Musical this past summer.