EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is developing Stronger (working title), a female empowerment bodybuilding drama series starring and executive produced by Insecure standout Yvonne Orji, sources tell Deadline. The project is created and written by Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air) and comes from A+E Studios where Turner and Jennifer Klein’s Vendetta Productions has a first-look deal.
No one would comment but Stronger (wt) is believed to follow Toni Winslow (Orji), a single mom who feels unseen and unimportant. She becomes obsessed with bodybuilding as she explores the surprisingly tenuous line separating self-empowerment from self-destruction, and will undergo not only a physical transformation but also an emotional one.
Turner and Klein executive produce via their Vendetta Productions alongside Orji and her manager DC Wade of Odenkirk Provissiero. A+E Studios is the studio.
Orji is coming off her role as Issa Dee’s (Issa Rae) best friend Molly on the HBO comedy series Insecure, which earned her a supporting actress Emmy nomination. As a standup, Orji has opened for Chris Rock in a number of venues across the country, including Madison Square Garden and the Barclays, and headlined her own 2020 HBO special, Momma, I Made It. She is now in post-production on her second special for the network.
Orji’s latest feature is Fox/Hulu’s 2021 Vacation Friends, opposite John Cena and Lil Rel Howery. Her debut book, Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me Into the Life of My Dreams, was published in 2021 by Hachette Book Group. Orji is repped by UTA, Odenkirk Provissiero, and Del Shaw Moonves.
This is the latest project at Netflix for A+E Studios at Netflix where the studio produced The Liberator and currently has The Lincoln Lawyer. It stems from the first-look deal the studio signed with Vendetta in fall 2020.
Turner’s feature credits include Up in the Air, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, X-Men: First Class, and Straight Outta Compton. Vendetta also has drama series WYRD in the works at FX with Matthew Rhys attached to star. The company is repped by CAA and attorney Kevin Marks at Gang Tyre.
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