Starz has added Gaslit, a series based on Slate’s Slow Burn podcast about Watergate, to its upcoming catalog, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show will be an anthology series, with Sean Penn (Mystic River, Milk) and Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich) starring.
Martha Mitchell (Roberts), socialite and wife of Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell (Penn), is at the center of the show. Martha is the first person who publicly point out Nixon’s involvement with the Watergate scandal, and this causes tension among her, John, the president and the public. Ultimately, John will “be forced to choose between Martha and the president,” according to Deadline.
Joel Edgerton (The Gift, The Great Gatsby) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network, Call Me by Your Name) were originally set to star in the series but exited due to scheduling conflicts, according to The Wrap. Edgerton was also set to direct but has since been replaced by Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic, 28 Hotel Rooms), according to Deadline.
Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot, Search Party), the series’ creator, will serve as showrunner, writing alongside Amelia Gray, Alberto Roldán, Anayat Fakhraie, Uzoamaka Maduka and Sofya Levitzky-Weitz, according to Deadline.
Gaslit is produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, and will begin work in spring, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Sam Esmail, under his overall deal with UCP, will executive produce alongside Chad Hamilton, Pickering, Ross, Roberts, through her own Red Om Films, Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres, according to Deadline. In addition, Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin, from Slate, will executive produce, while Leon Nayfakh, creator of Slow Burn, will consult for the series.
Christina Davis, head of originals for Starz, said the obscurity of Martha Mitchell’s story, paired with the creative team they have put together excites her.
“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,” Davis said, according to Deadline, “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.”
Pickering also said the creative team was special and that he’s excited to tell Martha Mitchell’s story.
“I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the heartbreaking, fascinating story of Martha Mitchell with the world. 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,” Pickering said, according to Deadline. “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.”