EXCLUSIVE: Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game) is set to play the lead role of Billy in Trudie Styler’s adaptation of James St. James’ bestseller Freak Show. Lawther joins a starry cast that, as Deadline exclusively revealed, already includes Bette Midler as Muv, Billy’s mother; AnnaSophia Robb and Ian Nelson as Billy’s friends Blah Blah Blah and Flip; and Lorraine Toussaint as Billy’s nanny, Flossie.
Freak Show tells the story of Billy Bloom, a funny, good-hearted, cross-dressing teen who becomes the new student at an ultra-conservative high school. Although accosted with Bible thumpers, the jocks, and the bullies, Billy takes a stand. Determined to be who he is and not bow to peer pressure, he refuses to change his outlandish outfits or behavior. Instead, he decides to run for Homecoming Queen for outcasts and underdogs everywhere.
As the Divine Miss M., Midler began her career singing in a bathhouse in the 1970s and gathered quite a following from the gay community before becoming a mega-star.
Celine Rattray (The Kids Are Alright) and Charlotte Ubben are producing with Styler through their Maven Pictures banner along with Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen’s Flower Films (Chris Miller, Ember Truesdell), Jeffrey Coulter, and Bryan Rabin. Adapting the book is Beth Rigazio and PJ Clifton. Maven Pictures, co-founded by Rattray and Styler, most recently produced five-time BIFA-nominated film Filth, starring James McAvoy. It also exec produced Miss You Already.
The project is currently in pre-production and is set to begin filming at the end of the month.