EXCLUSIVE: Miranda Lambert has, for the first time, signed on to a film as an executive music producer to oversee music curation and also write an original song. Which film? Trey Fanjoy’s friendship comedy Something in the Water, which is being done through Lionsgate digital. In addition, YouTube sensation Grace Helbig has been tapped as one of the stars in the story that revolves around five women in the South who challenge their men to a bass fishing competition. Something in the Water, co-written and to be directed by Fanjoy, is said be in the vein of Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias.
It’s a strong women’s story, but it’s also noteworthy for another reason: The move for Lionsgate is an interesting one as bass fishing is one of the most popular sports in the Midwest and in the South but is, surprisingly, also popular in Asia. The company has been particularly keen on finding content that will play well in China. The film is the latest to be produced by Lionsgate as part of its digital film and television initiatives starring leading YouTube influencers, which was a topic of great conversation for an entertainment panel at this week’s Milken’s Global Conference.
For Lambert to come aboard is a coup for Lionsgate but also for country superstar Lambert who is at the top of her game musically and is now moving into a new area creatively that will directly reach her fans around the world in a different way. She is not joining the cast, but has come aboard to oversee the music and will have an original song dropping around the world with the film on Lionsgate’s worldwide digital network.
A comedian and Internet personality, Helbig is considered an up-and-comer. She co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in Dirty 30 for Lionsgate (where she has a development deal). She also has a top podcast with Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig. Recently, she was the voice of Sugar Cookieloaf in Trolls.
The script for Something in the Water was also written by Cindy McCreery. The film, which marks celebrated country music director Fanjoy’s feature debut, will be produced by Ken Treusch for Bleecker Street Entertainment alongside Fanjoy and Helbig. Jordan Gilbert is the creative executive for Lionsgate. Aquila/Wood is casting the film and production will take place in Nashville later this year.
Fanjoy is a very well-known name in Nashville, having been one of the most sought after (and winning-est) country music video directors in the industry. She has collaborated with Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire as well as with Lambert.
In fact, Lambert and Fanjoy have worked together for over a decade. Fanjoy directed Lambert’s first music video for the singer’s first single and has, subsequently, helmed the country artist’s videos on her game-changing hits — “Kerosene,” “The House That Built Me,” “Fastest Girl In Town,” “Over You,” “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Somethin’ Bad” with Carrie Underwood, “Automatic” and “Vice” which was just nominated at the 2017 Academy of Country Music Awards. Together, Lambert and Fanjoy have racked up numerous awards, including at the CMA’s for The House That Built Me. Lambert this year became the most nominated country artist in the history of the CMAs — and almost a third of those nominations came from the Lambert/Fanjoy music video collaborations.
“Strong, amazing women are at the heart of this story and they’re also at the center of this film creatively,” Fanjoy said. “Grace is in the zone comedically and at the top of her game and so is Miranda, artistically and musically. I’m thrilled to have so many wonderful creative collaborators.”
Helbig is repped by WME and Bleecker Street Entertainment. Lambert is represented by WME and Shopkeeper Management. Fanjoy is represented by CAA.