‘Gaslit’: Julia Roberts, Sean Penn star in TV series about Watergate
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Starz has picked up the anthology series “Gaslit,” starring Julia Roberts (“Homecoming,” Wonder) and Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River). Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic, 28 Hotel Rooms) will direct and executive produce the high-profile series adapted from Slate’s award-winning podcast “Slow Burn’s” first season about Watergate with showrunner Robbie Pickering (“Mr. Robot,” “Search Party,” Natural Selection).
“Gaslit” is set to start production this spring and will be produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, for Starz.
“Gaslit” is the newest title from Starz who recently launched its #TakeTheLead initiative, the company’s comprehensive effort to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.
“In ‘Gaslit,’ we not only have the opportunity to tell an incredible untold story in bringing Martha Mitchell’s historic role in Watergate to the forefront, but we are also incredibly lucky to have a dream cast including Julia and Sean and the best creative team and partners we could have asked for,” said Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz. “We could not be more excited to bring this story to the global Starz audience and continue the network’s commitment to spotlighting premium stories that appeal to women while super serving our core audience.”
“Gaslit” is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.
“I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the heartbreaking, fascinating story of Martha Mitchell with the world,” said showrunner and executive producer Robbie Pickering. “Martha was the first and loudest voice to speak out against the bumbling criminality of a crooked Presidential administration and she was one of the most complicated public martyrs of the era. To find anyone willing to tell her story is a dream. To be making it with Sam, Julia, Sean, Matt, UCP and Starz seems impossible. I’m over the moon.”
The story will center on Martha Mitchell, played by Roberts. A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, played by Penn. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel. As Attorney General, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted advisor and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the President.
Along with Pickering and Ross, Sam Esmail (“Homecoming,” “Mr. Robot”), via his overall deal with UCP, and Chad Hamilton (“Mr. Robot,” “Homecoming”) serve as executive producers under their production banner Esmail Corp. Roberts will executive produce under her banner Red Om Films along with co-executive producers Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Anonymous Content and Slate’s Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin will also executive produce. Leon Nayfakh, who created the podcast, will consult on the project.
“Gaslit” reunites Esmail and Roberts in their second television project together. The first was season one of Golden Globe(R)-nominated “Homecoming.”