EXCLUSIVE: Melissa George is attached to star in coming-of-age tale The Insect King. Written and directed by first-time feature helmer Priscilla Cameron, the film will kick off sales via 108 Media in Cannes next week. The story follows a motherless 13-year-old boy who falls in love with an exotic 40-year-old woman only to discover that he is in competition with his father for her affections. Produced by Bridget Callow-Wright, Insect King also stars Taika Waititi (Green Lantern) and Australia’s Sophie Lowe (Autumn Blood, Beautiful Kate). Abhi Rastogi, CEO of 108 Media, calls the project “an avant-garde masterpiece” that combines “comedy, drama, romance and fantasy to create a fairytale exploration of the magic of love.” George, who’s had a recurring role on The Good Wife this season, is the female lead opposite Rufus Sewell in ABC’s untitled Richard LaGravenese drama pilot. She’s repped by WME.
Melissa George has been tapped as the female lead opposite Rufus Sewell in ABC’s Richard LaGravenese drama pilot. Also cast in the pilot, in the vein of Dangerous Liaisons, is Elliot Knight. The untitled project is set in New York and revolves around the love and rivalry between two equally matched, powerful socialites, Philip Fitzgerald Julien (Sewell) and Margot Worth Cole (George), who play out their obsessive attraction and seduction of each other through their manipulation of others. Brit Knight, repped by Resolution, Affirmative Entertainment, UK’s Payne Management and Mike Adler, plays Philip’s right-hand man Leo who is loyal to his boss and keeps all of his secrets. This marks the second consecutive ABC/ABC Studios drama pilot for Aussie George, who toplined Gothica last season. She also played the lead in the Cinemax/BBC drama Hunted.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: HBO/Cinemax and The X Files alum Frank Spotnitz are developing Sam Hunter, a drama starring Melissa George to air on Cinemax. A spinoff of Cinemax’s Hunted, the action series sees George reprising her role as Sam, a gutsy agent in the murky world of private espionage. Now on the run from her former employer, Sam has a price on her head and a young daughter to protect. She must work as a freelance spy to find out who wants her dead — and how it connects to the murder of her own mother. Cinemax is planning to launch Sam Hunter as a four-hour miniseries, which Spotnitz is currently writing. Cinemax has been looking to keep Hunted alive in some form since partner BBC One last November opted not to renew the series for a second season.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa George and Roy Dupuis are attached to play a troubled couple in Rest Home, a psychological drama from Australian-born, Mexican-based writer-director Michael Rowe. Canuck Dupuis will play a security guard in a retirement home who’s married with two kids and is hooked on painkillers and anti-depressants. His life spirals out of control when he catches his wife (Hunted star George) with her lover. It’s a Canadian-Australian co-production between Serge Noël’s Possibles Média and Trish Lake’s Freshwater Pictures. Lake tells Deadline the plan is to shoot in Montreal late this year, with post in Australia. Quebec’s SODEC fund is an investor, Pyramide International is handling international sales and Rialto will distribute in Australia/New Zealand. It will be Rowe’s third film and his first in English following Manto Acuífero, which is in post, and Año Bisiesto (Leap Year) which won the Caméra d’Or in Cannes in 2010. Lake and Noël aim to complete the financing at the Rotterdam fest’s CineMart which kicks off on January 27. George, who’s repped in Australia by Cameron’s Management, recently wrapped Felony, a crime thriller with Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney. Dupuis is repped by Premier Role.
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa George has been tapped as the lead in the BBC-Cinemax spy thriller series Nemesis aka Morton, which was created by former X-Files executive producer Frank Spotnitz. BBC One commissioned eight episodes of the project back in January, with Cinemax recently coming on board. Cinemax will co-produce Nemesis with BBC and the UK’s Shine-owned production company Kudos Film and Television, in association with Big Light. In the vein of Bourne Identity, Nemesis is a suspense thriller set in the world of international espionage. It centers on a highly skilled operative (George) for an elite private intelligence firm who survives an attempt on her life that might have been orchestrated by members of her own team. Once she returns to the firm, she must perform her secretive duties without knowing who to trust and who wants her dead. In addition to writing, Spotnitz is executive producing Nemesis with Kudos’ Stephen Garrett, Jane Featherstone and Alison Jackson. S.J. Clarkson will direct the first two episodes of the series, which will start production this fall in Europe and North Africa.
TV CASTINGS: Rex Lee Joins ‘Suburgatory’, Melissa George Off To ‘Bag Of Bones’, John Goodman To ‘Community’,'Work It’ Adds Girl
Fresh off his co-starring turn on HBO’s Entourage as Ari Gold’s long-suffering assistant Lloyd, Rex Lee has joined the cast of ABC’s new single-camera comedy series Suburgatory as a regular. Suburgatory centers on Tessa (Jane Levy), a teen girl whose quality of life takes a nosedive when her family moves from the big city to the suburbs. Lee, repped by APA and Thruline, will play Mr. Wolf, Tessa’s high school guidance counselor who is inviting and slightly clueless to the bitchiness and the back-stabbing within the student hierarchy. He was a guest star in the pilot and is now being added to the series as a regular. Entourage kicked off its final season last night.
Newcomer Hannah Sullivan has landed a series regular role on another new ABC comedy, Work It. The multicamera comedy, from Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen, is about out-of-work car salesmen Lee (Ben Koldyke) and Angel (Amaury Nolasco), who dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. In a recasting, Sullivan, repped by SDB and Prodigy Talent, will play Kat, the edgy, sarcastic teenage daughter of Koldyke and Beth Lacke. She replaces Kacie Lynch, who played the part in the pilot.
Julia Stiles, Taye Diggs, Melissa George and David Harbour are attached to star in Between Us, the Dan Mirvish-directed adaption of the Joe Hortua off-Broadway play about two couples who were friends in school and whose periodic meetings conjure up rivalries and bitterness over unrealized ambitions that get waylaid by money and children. The film will shoot in May. Mirvish is the co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival who directed Open House. Hortua and Mirvish wrote the script. They are producing with Hans Ritter, Barry Hennessey and Dana Altman. The play opened originally at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2004. ICM is packaging the film and reps the talent.
UPDATED: ICM has signed actor clients including Emmy-winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk for 8 seasons) from CAA, Melissa George (In Treatment) from Paradigm, and Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) from WME. In addition, the agency signed away from UTA new motion picture lit clients Steven Rogers (Enchanted Inc, P.S. I Love You, Kate & Leopold) and Japanese horror movement pioneer Takashi Shimizu (English-language remakes of The Grudge 1 & 2). ICM’s International & Independent film department is packaging Shimizi’s next project Parasyte produced by Ozla Pictures, the Jim Henson Company, and Angry Films.
WME has signed Michael Patrick O’Brien, who is about to start his 2nd year as a writer for Saturday Night Live; Paul Iacono who stars as the title character in MTV’s highest-rated scripted show The Hard Times Of RJ Berger; indie film star and West Wing standout Allison Janney who is managed by Thruline Entertainment; Melina Kanakaredes who just finished a 6-year starring role in CSI:NY, Kerry Bishe, one of the stars of Ed Burns’ film Nice Guy Johnny and who last season was a new cast member on Scrubs; Luke Bracey, the male lead of Monte Carlo; Jane Goldman, who co-wrote Stardust, The Debt, and Kick-Ass and is currently writing on X-Men: First Class; Andrew Barrer & Gabe Ferrari, whose screenplay Die In A Gunfight is currently being developed with Zac Efron attached to star and Mark Gordon attached to produce; Ian Deitchman & Kristin Rusk Robinson who have Life As We Know It coming out this October from Warner Bros; W Kamau Bell, standup comedian whose one-man show “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in …