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Chris Messina to Star in HBO Max Pilot About 2019 College Admissions Scandal

Brett Weiner’s “Verbatim” anthology series will feature dialogue taken from real-life events

Chris Messina has signed on to star in the HBO Max pilot “Verbatim,” TheWrap has confirmed.

The project, an anthology series from creator Brett Weiner and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, will tackle the 2019 college admissions scandal using dialogue taken directly from real-life events.

“Verbatim” is based on Weiner’s New York Times digital series of the same name, itself an adaptation of Weiner’s 2014 short film. The original project used dialogue lifted straight from a 2010 legal deposition from a real estate company’s lawsuit against the Ohio records department.

Weiner discussed his approach to the original project in a 2014 interview with TheWrap. “I was adamant every line had to be verbatim from the court document — no cutting, rearranging or changing words,” he said at the time. “I had an awesome script supervisor stand next to me the entire day, just tugging on my sleeve whenever an actor got any word wrong.”

In addition to Weiner, executive producers on the pilot include Stiller, Nicholas Weinstock and Jackie Cohn of Red Hour, and Banks Tarver and Kathleen Lingo of the New York Times. Additional EPs include Ken Druckerman, Scott Lochmus and Michelene Starnadori.