Julia Roberts is reteaming with Homecoming helmer Sam Esmail on a new podcast-to-TV adaptation. The actress will star opposite fellow Academy Award winner Sean Penn in Gaslit, based on Slate‘s Watergate-themed podcast Slow Burn, TVLine has learned.
Roberts and Penn will star opposite Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name) and Joel Edgerton (Loving), the latter of whom will direct and executive-produce the series alongside his brother, Nash Edgerton (Mr Inbetween). Additional EPs include Chad Hamilton and Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot); Pickering will serve as showrunner.
Gaslit is described as “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.” The project, which hails from Universal Content Productions, does not yet have a network attached.
Roberts is set to play Martha Mitchell, “a big personality with an even bigger mouth,” who is “a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell. 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.” Penn will portray the A.G., who is “temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless, yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife,” and is “forced to choose between Martha and the President.”
Hammer, meanwhile, will play John Dean, a “young White House Counsel torn between his ambition and his struggle with whether he can lie to protect the President.” Last but not least is Edgerton, who will take on the role of G. Gordon Liddy, “a Korean War veteran and former FBI agent” who serves as the “chief operative of Nixon’s ‘Plumbers’ unit, tasked with plugging embarrassing leaks in the wake of the Pentagon Papers.”
“Now more than ever, truth is absolutely stranger than fiction,” Esmail said in a statement. “When Robbie first told me about the Slow Burn podcast, I devoured it instantly. The second I finished it, I felt compelled to bring this story to television especially after watching the cowardice on display during the recent impeachment hearings.
“To help realize this important chapter in our country’s history, my first call was to the brilliant Julia Roberts,” he continued. “After her captivating performance in Homecoming, I knew Julia was the only person who could tackle the complex role of Martha Mitchell and lead our stellar cast in adapting this bizarre and controversial narrative.”
Does Roberts’ Homecoming followup pique your interest?