E!'s 'The Arrangement' Pilot Drawing Comparisons to Tom Cruise and Scientology
Hollywood insiders are buzzing about a script acquired by the network from 'Mad Men' producer Jonathan Abrahams, in which a young star is a member of the Institute for the Higher Mind, and an actress is paid to marry him.
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
After THR reported in April that E! had acquired Mad Men producer Jonathan Abrahams' pilot The Arrangement — about a TV actress named Megan Morrison who is offered a $10 million marriage contract with Hollywood's biggest star — the script started making the rounds. With the Universal Cable Productions project now casting, the specifics of the story have come to light — and the similarities to rumors about Tom Cruise and Scientology have insiders buzzing.
The script details star Kyle West's commitment to a spirituality center called The Institute for the Higher Mind, which is headed by a controlling best friend who takes credit for his career. Toward the end of the pilot, West offers to take the actress, who is at the time best known for her work on a TV series, on a date to Italy, where Cruise and ex-wife Katie Holmes were first photographed.
But an E! spokesperson says Cruise isn't the inspiration: "The character of Kyle West is not at all inspired by anyone in particular. Kyle is a young, rising star who was recently left at the altar by his actress ex-girlfriend."
Per the network, the storyline is described as "a Cinderella story for modern times, with a dramatic and complicated Hollywood twist. The drama follows Megan Morrison, a beautiful young actress who auditions for the female lead in a summer blockbuster playing opposite Kyle West, the hottest actor of the moment. After an amazing audition segues into a dream-like first date, Megan’s Cinderella story takes a turn to the bizarre when she is presented with a contract that details an entire relationship with Kyle. Megan must weigh her options and the benefits and consequences to her career and her life overall ... and decide whether or not she will accept 'The Arrangement.' "
Abrahams is executive producing along with Jimmy Fox of Objective Prods. USA, and Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman of All3Media America. UCP is producing. E! has seen success with its first scripted series, The Royals.