YouTube has finalized a deal for 10-episode series order to On Becoming A God In Central Florida, a 1990s-set one-hour dark comedy series, starring and executive produced by Kirsten Dunst. The series, set to premiere on YouTube Premium in 2019, hails from George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures and Sony’s TriStar Television.
On Becoming A God In Central Florida, which was previously in development at AMC, was one of the passion projects for the late TriStar TV topper Suzanne Patmore Gibbs who revived Sony Pictures TV’s label as home of female-focused material.
Written by Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky based on a spec script they wrote, On Becoming A God is set near Orlando in the early 1990s. It centers on Krystal Gill (Dunst), a minimum-wage-earning water park employee who will eventually scheme her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise: the cultish, flag waving, multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin.
“In Krystal Gill, Funke and Lutsky have created a truly delicious, sometimes diabolical female character — a dirt poor, very fierce young woman who is relentless in her pursuit of the American dream inside of an Amway-like company,” Patmore Gibbs said in her last interview with Deadline before her death. “There is something incredibly compelling, heartbreaking and absurd about both she and the lost souls these multi-level marketing companies prey on, who look to find community, respect and a sense of self in all the wrong places.”
Dunst was everyone’s top choice for the role from the start and “was born to slay this role,” Patmore Gibbs said.
Funke, Lutsky, Dunst and Lanthimos executive produce alongside Esta Spalding, who will serve as showrunner, helmer Charlie McDowell (The Discovery), who will direct, and Oscar winners Clooney and Heslov (Argo) through Smokehouse. Sarah Shepard, who has been a big proponent of the project, oversees for Smokehouse.
Sony TV produces YouTube’s first big breakout original series hit, Cobra Kai, which was recently renewed for a second season.
Spider-Man alumna Dunst starred in the second season of FX’s limited series Fargo, earning Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, and co-starred in Hidden Figures.
Funke and Lutsky are repped by CAA and Peter Heller. Smokehouse Pictures is repped by CAA. Dunst is repped by UTA and Management 360. Spalding is repped by UTA. McDowell is repped by ICM Partners.