EXCLUSIVE: Following competitive bidding war, Apple Studios has landed Dolly, a new feature film with Academy Award-nominee Florence Pugh attached to star with Vanessa Taylor and Drew Pearce Penning the script. Insiders close to the project stress the project is not greenlit at this time as the script still needs to penned and a director still needs to be attached. Insiders go on to add that the package caught the interest of a total of four bidders that included multiple studios and another streamer with Apple TV+ emerging as the winner earlier this week.
The film is a sci-fi courtroom drama in which a robotic “companion doll” kills its owner and then shocks the world by claiming that she is not guilty and asking for a lawyer. The film, which is inspired by Elizabeth Bear’s short story of the same name, has elements of both classic courtroom drama and sci-fi.
Apple Studios is attached to produce with Pearce also producing through Point of No Return Films, and Pugh and Taylor will executive produce. Ian Fisher executive produces through Point of No Return Films.
Pugh has quickly become one of Hollywood’s rising stars in the leading lady ranks following her star-making turn in Midsommar and Oscar-nominated role in Little Women. She next stars in Marvel’s Black Widow set to hit theaters in May 2021, and she recently began production as the female lead in Don’t Worry Darling for New Line, directed by Olivia Wilde. She also recently attached herself to star in The Maid adaptation at Universal.
The sale marks the first big sale for Pearce’s new production company and the project gained wide attention through Pearce’s innovative use of a full video pitch, which allowed the project to be seen by numerous potential buyers simultaneously – something especially useful in a landscape where studios, streamers and investors are proliferating. Pearce successfully sold the Untitled Stunt Man Pitch in a competitive situation to Universal with Dave Leitch directing and Ryan Gosling starring this past fall in Sept using the same pitch video methodology.
Taylor is best known for her Oscar-winning work on The Shape of Water, which she co-wrote with Guillermo del Toro. She most recently penned the Netflix adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close.
Pugh is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Curtis Brown and Associates and attorney Ziffren Brittenham. Taylor is repped by ICM Partners, Robert Offer at Sloane Offer Weber Dern. Pearce and his Point of No Return Films is repped by WME and Jim Gilio and Warren Dern at Sloane Offer Weber Dern. Bear is represented by Jennifer Jackson at the Maas Agency and WME.
Apple’s original film slate includes AFI Fest winner, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Dublin Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association, Chicago Indie Critics, Critics’ Choice Super Award-winning animated film Wolfwalkers; the recently premiered and Critics Choice Award-nominated Palmer starring Justin Timberlake, directed by Fisher Stevens; Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award-nominated film On The Rocks, Greyhound written by and starring Tom Hanks; the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Boys State, which also won two Critics Choice Documentary Awards.
Apple TV+ will also soon premiere anticipated films including Anthony and Joe Russo’s new film Cherry, starring Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo; and Sundance Grand Jury Prize Award-winner CODA.