EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios has stepped up for Deadtown, an Entertainment One and Grey Matter Entertainment script that will be developed for a pilot by Shauna Cross. Deadtown is an adaptation of the Catherynne M. Valente novella The Refrigerator Monologues and the hourlong premise is a blueprint to create an original superhero universe set in the modern era with an underlying theme of female empowerment.

Five recently-dead women meet in Deadtown, a purgatory where they discover that their entire lives were merely in service to the superhero men they happened to cross paths with, resulting in each of their deaths. Or in comic book terms, they were “refrigerated”–frozen out of the story once they provided emotional backstory for the men. Until now. They start to discover their own powers, tell their sides of the narrative, and decide to write their own damn stories. And a group of seemingly ordinary women discover their own true power. It’s a subversive, kick-ass exploration of what it means for women to find their inner power – and use it.

Cross has scripted films that include Whip It (the Drew Barrymore-directed roller derby film was adapted from Cross’s novel Derby Girl), Bad Santa 2 and If I Stay, and she is working on projects that include an adaptation of the classic Erica Jong erotic novel Fear of Flying. She will be executive producer along with Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, Cliff Roberts, and Catherynne M. Valente.

The novella was published in 2017. Valente is a bestselling author whose Space Opera just sold to Universal for Marc Platt and Colin Trevorrow. She is the author of over a dozen works of fiction, including Palimpsest, The Orphan’s Talesseries, Deathless, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making. She’s won numerous lit awards.

Cross is represented by WME and Syndicate; Valente is repped by Michael Prevett at Rain Management and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency Inc. Grey is repped by WME and attorney Jamie Feldman.