“Cruel Intentions” could be coming to television. NBC has bought a script with a significant commitment from the film’s original director and writer Roger Kumble, Variety has learned.
NBC’s version would take a modern spin on the late ’90s cultural phenomenon that brought Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Selma Blair to worldwide fame.
The present-day “Cruel Intentions” reboot will center around the 16-year-old son of the late Sebastian Valmont (played by Phillippe in the film) and Annette Hargrove (played by Witherspoon), named Bash Casey. Upon finding his late father’s journal, Bash learns of the family legacy he didn’t know existed. In search of answers, he trades his small-town Kansas upbringing for a scholarship to the prestigious Brighton Preparatory Academy in San Francisco and soon finds himself in a world of sex, money, power and corruption he never could have imagined.
In the 1999 film, Annette was not said to be pregnant, though she did drive away at the end of the movie with Sebastian’s journal by her side after his funeral, as she recalled fond memories of him.
Kumble is attached to direct the pilot, and co-write with scribes Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross who will serve as exec producers on the potential series from Sony Television, along with Neal Moritz and Original Film’s Pavun Shetty who will exec produce through their Sony TV deal. AMBI will also produce.
The series had been pitched around to many networks this month and quickly garnered competitive interest, before ultimately landing at NBC with a script commitment plus penalty.
Rosin and Ross were behind this past summer’s Cruel Intentions Musical in L.A., held at the Rockwell Table and Stage, which became a hot-ticket event when original cast members Witherspoon, Gellar and Blair reunited at a show, causing a social media uproar. It was at one of their shows that the duo met Kumble who become an instant fan of the musical adaptation of his film, sparking the trio’s partnership on developing a TV series together.
Under their Sucker Love Productions banner, Rosin and Ross also adapted “The O.C.” for an unauthorized one-night only show, which sold out this summer in Los Angeles.
For Rosin, “Cruel Intentions” marks her second sale this development season, as she’s co-writing a comedy for CBS, titled “Squad Goals,” from exec producer Ryan Seacrest.
The “Cruel Intentions” reboot is one of many recent television remakes of ’80s and ’90s properties with networks tapping into the nostalgia trend. Fox is bringing back “The X-Files” in January, Showtime has “Twin Peaks” coming up and Netflix is reviving “Full House” by way of a sequel “Fuller House,” which will feature many of the original cast members. NBC also had “Coach” in the works, based on Craig T. Nelson’s long-running comedy, but the net ultimately axed the revival. As for young romance stories, the CW also has “The Notebook” reboot in the works, based on the Nicholas Sparks book and Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling movie.
“Cruel Intentions” was a low-budget, surprise box-office hit, bringing in $95 million worldwide. The teen flick was followed by two direct-to-video movies: a prequel from Kumble titled “Cruel Intentions 2,” which starred Amy Adams and was originally prepped to be a Fox TV series called “Manchester Prep,” plus “Cruel Intentions 3,” to which Kumble was not attached.
Kumble is repped by UTA. Rosin is repped by ICM, Foundry Literary + Media, Underground, and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Ross is also repped by ICM.