Chris Messina has been tapped as the lead in HBO Max pilot Verbatim, an anthology series from Brett Weiner (Honest Trailers), Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, Left/Right Productions and The New York Times.
Created and directed by Weiner, Verbatim is based on his New York Times Op-Docs digital series. It tackles actual events with all dialogue taken from primary sources and presented verbatim. The pilot episode follows the story of the 2019 college admissions scandal.
Messina’s role has not been revealed; I hear he may be playing the scheme’s ringleader Rick Singer.
Red Hour’s Nicholas Weinstock, Jackie Cohn and Stiller executive produce with Left/Right’s Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver and Kathleen Lingo for The New York Times. Scott Lochmus (To Dust) and Michelene Starnadori (Unexpected) will produce.
2020 HBO Max Pilots & Series Orders
Verbatim began as a short film that screened around the country including at the Sundance, South by Southwest and Telluride film festivals in 2014 and won the audience award at the Dallas International Film Festival. The New York Times expanded the film into a digital series that has garnered millions of views and was an official selection of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Shorts Program with Verbatim: The Ferguson Case in 2016.
Messina was most recently seen on television in The Sinner opposite Matt Bomer and Bill Pullman and Sharp Objects opposite Amy Adams. He’ll next be seen on the big screen in I Care A Lot, alongside Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage, and The Secrets We Keep, opposite Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman. He most recently was seen as villain Victor Vsasz in Warner Bros/DC film Birds of Prey. He is repped by CAA, Management 360, and Gendler & Kelly.