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One of the latest fads to sweep through the showbiz scene is of making what was old become new again. Networks large and small have been bringing cancelled shows back to television, producing spinoffs of success stories, and rebooting films for the small screen. If you’re a fan of late '90s films about teenagers, drugs, sex, and inappropriate relationships between step-siblings, some news that has been recently released is far from cruel: 1999’s low-budget Cruel Intentions may be getting a reboot for the small screen. Sort of.
NBC has bought a script that will feature a return to the world established in the 1999 film. Although the project has not yet been ordered to series, the fact that the script was written by original Cruel Intentions writer and director Roger Krumble promises significant artistic investment in the project.
A television version of Cruel Intentions will not center around any of the characters from the original film, according to Variety, nor either of its two direct-to-video sequels. Instead, the show would follow the story of the son of reformed bad boy Sebastian Valmont and virtuous Annette Hargrove from the film. Bash Casey will be a 16-year old student who discovers his father’s journal and uncovers the sordid details that drove the plot of the film. By accepting a scholarship to a prestigious private school in San Francisco, Bash finds himself in an environment similar to the one that introduced his parents and killed his father.
At this point, there’s no news of what actors might make the cut of this continuation. The original film was headlined by Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Reese Witherspoon. With Gellar and Witherspoon likely too successful now to be tied to a TV version of Cruel Intentions, and Phillippe’s character dead at the end of the film, the show may have an entirely new cast of characters. After all, Witherspoon’s Annette Harding wasn’t even shown to be pregnant at the end of the film. NBC has a surprisingly blank slate for this project.
NBC has brought in more than just the original writer and director to launch this potential new series. Roger Kumble will be joined by writers Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross, who will come in to work as executive producers should a series be officially ordered.
Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross came onto the Cruel Intentions scene in the summer of 2015 when they brought the 1999 big screen film to the stage with an unauthorized musical adaptation in Los Angeles. The musical was a hit and garnered plenty of media attention when stars of the movie showed up for a performance, and Kumble became a fan of the duo’s work. All in all, the musical sparked the beginning of a beautiful friendship that may bring something that we never knew that we needed to primetime television: a real-time spinoff of the Cruel Intentions world.