Julia Roberts & Sean Penn are taking their Watergate-fronted drama Gaslit to the Starz network but the project has already lost two key players during the transition.
Gaslit, which is based on Slate’s Slow Burn podcast, originally had actor Joel Edgerton attached to co-star and direct but it has been announced that he has left the project along with his brother Nash Edgerton. Matt Ross, who has directed feature films including Captain Fantastic and 28 Hotel Rooms, will now direct and executive produce the series.
What’s unclear, as of this writing, is why the Edgerton brothers vacated the drama. Their departure comes on the heels of Armie Hammer taking a leave from the series following his social media scandal that involved alleged messages exchanged on Instagram that hinted at taste for rape fantasies and cannibalism. Hammer was set to play White House Counsel John Dean and Edgerton was on board to play G. Gordon Liddy chief operative of Richard Nixon’s “Plumbers” unit. The two roles are currently in the process of being recast.
Julia Roberts will play Martha Mitchell, a big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, played by Penn. 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. As Attorney General, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted advisor and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the President.
Gaslit will also reunite Roberts with Sam Esmail, who executive produces the series and also was a key player in getting Roberts on the small screen via the Amazon streaming series, Homecoming. Roberts starred on the first season of the show and the role earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress In a Television Series – Drama. Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz, had this to say about the project coming together with both Roberts and Penn:
“In Gaslit, we not only have the opportunity to tell an incredible untold story in bringing Martha Mitchell’s historic role in Watergate to the forefront, but we are also incredibly lucky to have a dream cast including Julia and Sean and the best creative team and partners we could have asked for. We could not be more excited to bring this story to the global Starz audience and continue the network’s commitment to spotlighting premium stories that appeal to women while super serving our core audience.”
Are YOU interested in watching Gaslit? Production on the anthology series is set to begin later this spring.