Deaf actress Simmonds, who broke through in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck before appearing in John Krasinski’s horror film and its sequel, will star in and exec produce the adaptation, which is produced by Circle of Confusion Television Studios.
True Biz tells the story of Charlie, played by Simmonds, a Deaf teenage girl struggling to access spoken language, and the hearing CODA (child of deaf adults) headmistress of a boarding school for deaf students, both of whom live in a blue-collar town in the present-day Midwest. Through Charlie, the story navigates the alternatingly thrilling, frustrating, terrifying, and captivating journey of finding one’s people and one’s place in the world amidst massive social and political upheaval, while also following a tireless school administrator who comes to her own breaking point as she confronts the tragic realities of her increasingly fraught personal and professional lives.
The book, written by Girl At War author and Deaf rights activist Nović, is to be published by Penguin Random House in March 2022.
The television adaptation will be exec produced by Simmonds, Nović, Brad Mendelsohn, Russ Buchholz and Charles Mastropietro. Tyler Knell, who brought the book to Circle of Confusion, will oversee the project for the studio.
The studio and producers intend for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals to fill many creative and leadership roles across the writing and production of the series.
Circle of Confusion Television Studios is a joint venture between The Walking Dead producer and ITV Studios America.
“As soon as I read True Biz, I knew I had to jump at the chance to collaborate with a Deaf creator on a project with an authentic and fresh perspective of the Deaf community and am equally excited to portray a deaf teenage protagonist never before seen on screen. This project will be a truly unique opportunity to work with deaf professionals both in front and behind the camera throughout the project,” said Simmonds.
Nović said, “I am thrilled to be working with such a talented team to bring True Biz to life onscreen. The opportunity to share authentic Deaf stories with viewers has been a long-held dream.”
“This was a highly competitive bidding situation, and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with Sara and Millie on this ground-breaking series that will explore and celebrate d/Deaf identity through a blend of humor and pathos, while also drawing upon the universal themes found in self-expression, family, love, and loss,” added Buchholz.
Simmonds is repped by Circle of Confusion, WME, and attorney Stewart Brookman, Nović is repped by Anonymous Content, which brokered the deal with ITV Studios America, and The Wylie Agency, and Circle of Confusion TV Studios is repped by CAA and Howard Abramson of Behr Abramson Levy.