Sam Esmail is re-teaming with his “Homecoming” star Julia Roberts on another TV adaptation of a popular podcast, this time centered around the Watergate scandal.
Roberts is set star in “Gaslit,” which is based on the first season of Slate’s podcast “Slow Burn,” which Esmail will executive produce. Roberts will star alongside Sean Penn, Armie Hammer and Joel Edgerton, who will direct the series with his brother Nash. “Gaslit” is from UCP, which will shop the adaptation to networks and streaming platforms.
“Gaslit” is described as a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal — from Richard 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.
Roberts will play Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon’s attorney general John Mitchell. Martha was the first to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in. Penn will play the attorney general, who was one of Nixon’s closest allies. Hammer will portray White House counsel John Dean, while Edgerton will play G. Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent who became the chief operative of Nixon’s “Plumbers” unit, which was tasked with plugging embarrassing leaks following the release of the Pentagon Papers.
“We are so excited to announce our next collaboration with Sam as we prepare to bring “Gaslit” to market,” said Dawn Olmstead, President, UCP. “Sam and Esmail Corp have introduced the world to some of the most talented creatives in front of and behind the camera, and this project with Robbie at the helm is the next in the lineage of outstanding series from this team. We are also thrilled to be partnering with Julia once again and welcome Sean, Armie, Joel and Nash to UCP.”
Robbie Pickering will serve as showrunner and executive produce along with Esmail and Chad Hamilton 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. UCP is a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.