EXCLUSIVE: Peacock has put in development Pure, a one-hour drama based on Allen Salkin’s Vanity Fair article “The Runaway Vegan,” from Weimaraner Republic Pictures and Warner Bros. Television.
Written by Heather Regnier (Veronica Mars), Pure will chronicle the rise and fall of the relationship between Sarma Melngailis and Anthony Strangis, two people who fulfilled each other’s desires to live in a world that existed outside of reality — which ultimately destroyed them. A tragic, twisted love story, doomed from the start.
The title of the series likely comes from Pure Food and Wine, Melngailis’ upscale New York City raw food restaurant, which made her famous. But falling under the influence of Strangis, who promised her everything from financial prosperity to immortality for her and her dog if she obeyed him, Melngailis siphoned $2 million off her businesses and the two went on the run until they were arrested at a motel when Strangis used his real name to order pizza.
Melngailis’ story is showcased in the hit Netflix docuseries Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives, released earlier this year. Salkin was featured in the four-part documentary, which was not based on his Vanity Fair article.
Regnier executive produces Pure via her WBTV deal. Lynn Harris and Matti Leshem, who acquired rights to the article, executive produce through their Weimaraner Republic Pictures. Salkin will serve as consulting producer. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.
This would be the second scripted Peacock series sharing a subject with a hugely popular Netflix true crime docuseries, joining Joe vs. Carole, whose characters were featured in Netflix’s Tiger King.
Regnier was a co-executive producer on Hulu’s Veronica Mars and supervising producer on Showtime’s SMILF. She most recently co-adapted the live-action Powerpuff pilot with Diablo Cody for the CW and Berlanti Prods. She previously wrote with Matthew Fogel and executive produced the animated presentation Ghosting for HBO. Regnier is repped by UTA and Jeanne Newman and Matthew Levy.
Salkin also co-authored with journalist Aaron Short The Method to the Madness, Untold Stories of Donald Trump’s 16-Year Quest for the White House; From Scratch: The Uncensored History of the Food Network; and his first book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us, with a forward by Jerry Stiller, described as a journalistic romp through the world of Festivus. Allen is repped by Yfat Reiss Gendell of YRG Partners and Paradigm.
Founded by Harris and Leshem in 2014, film and TV company Weimaraner Republic Pictures has recent credits that include Sony Pictures’ The Shallows, King Richard for Warner Bros., and the upcoming Hocus Pocus 2 for Disney+ and The Survivor, starring Ben Foster and directed by Barry Levinson, for HBO, made in partnership with New Mandate Films and Bron Studios.
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