EXCLUSIVE: Marielle Heller and Big Beach, the respective director and producers of last year’s Mister Rogers pic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, are reteaming for a limited series about a serial sexual harasser and his female employees.
Heller will direct Five Women, which is based on an episode of the National Public Radio show and podcast This American Life. She also serves as showrunner and executive producer through her new shingle Defiant by Nature, which is under a first-look deal with Big Beach that calls for her to develop new series and specials, some of which she will direct.
Reported and produced by Chana Joffe-Walt, Five Women follows the lives of several women who have little in common except for their boss, who sexually harasses them. Before those troubling encounters, though, how did their personal histories affect the way they dealt with his harassment? Who they were before they entered the workplace – each woman’s life experience – shapes the way each of them deals with his harassment, in a way that’s rarely discussed or dramatized.
Robin Schwartz, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Alissa Shipp, Ira Glass and Joffe-Walt will executive produce the project alongside Heller. Also producing are Kyle Laursen of Big Beach and Havilah Brewster of Defiant by Nature.
Along with the Matthew Rhys-Tom Hanks pic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Heller also directed 2018’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? for which Melissa McCarthy earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination and Richard E. Grant snagged a Supporting nom. Heller made her helming debut with The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which won the Grand Prix for Best Feature at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.
Big Beach’s TV unit produces Tanya Saracho’s Starz drama Vida and is the studio behind the Elizabeth Olsen-led Facebook Watch series Sorry for Your Loss. Big Beach also is 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 last year’s The Farewell. Lulu Wang’s Indie Spirit award winner for Best Feature.
Heller is repped at UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. This American Life is repped at UTA and Lichter Grossman.