‘Big Little Lies’ Kathryn Newton Joins Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges In ‘Ben Is Back’

EXCLUSIVE: Kathryn Newton, who recently starred as Reese Witherspoon’s rebellious daughter in HBO’s multiple Emmy-winning series Big Little Lies, has just been cast along side Julia Roberts and Manchester By the Sea’s Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges in Ben Is Back. The drama is scripted and will be directed by Peter Hedges, the What’s Eating Gilbert Grape novelist-screenwriter, About a Boy scribe and Pieces of April and Dan In Real Life director. Hedges is also the father of Lucas.

The drama follows a charming, yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges) who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben’s wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family’s downfall. Newton will play Ivy Burns, the 17 year old sister, described as a beautiful singer, who loves her brother, but does not trust that he can be better. Ivy doesn’t like what he has done to her family, but can tell how much he means to Holly, and how important it is that they try and help him get better.

Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson’s Color Force and Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures are producing alongside Hedges, with 30WEST and Black Bear fully financing the picture. CAA, which packaged and arranged financing for the film, will represent U.S. rights, and Sierra/Affinity will be handling international rights. Production will start next months in New York.

Newton can currently be seen in A24’s Lady Bird directed by Greta Gerwig as well as Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboard’s Outside Ebbing, Missouri. She will next star in the BBC/PBS adaptation of Little Women, the Universal comedy Blockers for Point Grey Pictures this April 2018, and recently filmed the CW/WB Supernatural spinoff Wayward Sisters.

She is repped by Management 360 and Innovative Artists.