A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood director Marielle Heller has signed a first-look overall TV deal with Big Beach, the film’s producer, via her new production shingle Defiant By Nature. Under the pact, Heller will develop and produce new series and specials for television, some of which she may direct, while also shepherding new voices and talent through Defiant By Nature. Big Beach will bring material to Heller as well.
The New York-based Defiant By Nature “will focus its slate on telling stories that uplift, inspire and entertain while simultaneously shining bright lights on women and non-binary creators,” according to Heller and Big Beach. Heller will serve as President/Founder along with Havilah Brewster as Head of Development and Production. Robin Schwartz, head of TV, will oversee the deal for Big Beach.
“We’ve been admirers of Mari’s humanistic and imaginative storytelling from her very first film, and it is our greatest pleasure to continue to build upon the relationship forged during ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’” said Schwartz. “We share her belief that ‘creating content you are passionate about with people you love leads to the best work’ and we’re thrilled to solidify such a perfect partnership.”
The deal with Big Beach follows the critically acclaimed Toronto premiere of the Heller-helmed A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, which is set to release on November 22. She previously directed the three-time Academy Award-nominated film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. Her highly lauded directorial debut, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards and earned her the First Time Feature Award, along with Sundance Screenwriting and Directing Fellowships during the development of the film.
“I’m thrilled to be continuing my collaboration with Big Beach, a company that aligns with me creatively in all ways,” said Heller. “This new venture is a deepening of our mission to expand the voices in the conversation and find projects that speak to our hearts.”
Big Beach’s television division produces Tanya Saracho’s Vida on Starz and is the studio behind the critically acclaimed Elizabeth Olsen series Sorry For Your Loss on Facebook Watch. In addition, they are producing Jean-Marc Vallée’s next television project Gorilla and the Bird for HBO based on Zack McDermott’s memoir. Big Beach’s feature side produced Lulu Wang’s Sundance darling The Farewell earlier this summer.
Heller is repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. The deal was negotiated by UTA on her behalf.