Freeform Orders ‘Last Summer’ Drama Pilot From Bert V. Royal, Jessica Biel, Max Winkler & eOne


EXCLUSIVE: Freeform has given a pilot green light to Last Summer, a one-hour drama thriller from writer Bert V. Royal, director Max Winkler, producer Jessica Biel and Entertainment One

Penned by Royal, with Winkler attached to direct, Last Summer is an unconventional thriller that takes place over three summers—‘93, ‘94, ‘95—in a small Texas town when a beautiful popular teen, Kate, is abducted and, seemingly unrelated, a girl, Jeanette, goes from being a sweet, awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town and, by ’95, the most despised person in America. Each episode is told from the POV of one of the two main girls (Jeanette and Kate), which will have the viewers loyalties constantly shifting as more information is revealed.


Royal executive produces with Biel and Michelle Purple via Iron Ocean Productions and Winkler.

“At Freeform, we are constantly looking to tell bold stories that drive cultural conversation—Last Summer will do just that,” said Lauren Corrao, Freeform’s EVP, Original Programming and Development. “Bert’s incredible character detail and unique voice coupled with Max’s distinctive vision is sure to leave our viewers on the edge of their seats. We are also incredibly honored to have Jessica and Michelle’s female-forward prowess contributing to this uniquely layered show.”

This marks Royal’s return to Freeform where he co-wrote and executive produced Recovery Road, which ran for one season.

“I’m so happy to be back at Freeform with an amazing team of eOne, Max, Michelle and Jessica by my side,” said Royal. “We’re really excited to tell this story that we hope will spark some interesting conversations about how our society can upend a person’s life and send them to the hell of infamy before—and sometimes even, despite—the facts.”

At Freeform, Last Summer joins mystery drama pilot Close Up, exec produced by Peter Nowalk.

Royal penned the screenplay for Easy A starring Emma Stone, and is set to write and direct a spinoff of the teen comedy for Sony Screen Gems, which will mark his directorial debut. The Will Gluck-directed original was a critical and commercial success as well as a career launcher for star Stone.

Photo by Todd Williamson/January Images/Shutterstock

Winkler recently directed, wrote and executive produced feature Jungleland, starring Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell and Jessica Barden, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. On the TV side, Winkler has directed episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Lady Dynamite and The Grinder, among others.

Biel stars in and executive produces Facebook Watch’s adaptation of the podcast Limetown, which recently world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She also executive produces USA Network’s crime anthology series The Sinner and starred in the first installment, earning Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Royal is repped by Writ Large and attorney Adam Kaller. Biel is repped by WME, LBI Entertainment and Morris Yorn. Winkler is repped by CAA, Management 360 and ID.

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