Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Allie MacDonald (Score: A Hockey Musical), Alexis Knapp (Project X), Brooke Anne Smith, Jade Bartlett and Sebastian Piggott have been cast as the  the leads in Cinnamon Girl, Lifetime’s drama pilot co-created and executive produced by Renée Zellweger, which is set against the backdrop of the Los Angeles music and movie scenes of the late 1960s/early 1970s. It tells the story of four coming-of-age girls — Cassie (MacDonald), Lola (Knapp), Junie (Smith) and Lou (Bartlett) — and explores their lives at the crossroads of the era’s political, artistic, social and sexual rebellions.

Zellweger co-created Cinnamon Girl with Anthony Tambakis (Warrior), and the premise is a combination of Zellweger’s real-life journey from small-town Texas to Hollywood stardom and Tambakis’ lifelong fascination with the Laurel Canyon music scene and the New Hollywood, auteur-driven era that began in the late ’60s. Inspired by Zellwegger, MacDonald’s Cassie is a beautiful, coltish, wholesome, feisty and intelligent Indiana girl who, terrified of ending up like her mother, “married by 20 and stuck in Indiana for the rest of her life,” heads for California, determined to be part of all that’s changing in the world. Knapp’s Lola is a force of nature, a wild child, a beautiful actress who hails from a line of Hollywood royalty, also a bartender. Smith’s June is a perky and adorable high school girl living in Canoga Park, a die-hard Beatles’ fan with a particular fondness for Paul McCartney. Bartlett’s Lou is the lead singer for a club band, something of a mother figure to the young hippies and rock ‘n roll types crowding her Laurel Canyon home who takes newly arrived Cassie under her wing. Piggott will play Billy, a heartthrob and future superstar who has immediate chemistry with Cassie.

Zellweger and Tambakis will executive produce Cinnamon Girl with Gavin O’Connor. Zellweger and Tambakis co-wrote the story, with Tambakis writing the script, O’Connor set to direct the pilot and Danny Bramson serving as producer and music supervisor.

MacDonald, repped by  Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management, The Kohner Agency and Doug Patterson at OAZ, is currently filming horror/musical Stage Fright and will next be seen in The Barrens with Stephen Moyer and The House At The End Of The Street alongside Jennifer Lawrence. Alexis Knapp, repped by CAA and Untitled, will next be seen in Pitch Perfect for Universal and Tom Vaughan’s So Undercover. 

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.