NBC Turning 'Oliver Twist' Into Contemporary Female-Driven Procedural (Exclusive)

Oliver Twist - Book Cover -Screen Shot -P 2016
Courtesy of Amazon

NBC is putting a new twist on Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

The network is teaming with Joel Silver and Lionsgate to develop drama Twist, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The drama, which has received a script commitment, is described as a modern take on Dickens' second novel that was originally published as a serial in the 1830s. Twist's logline is as follows: A sexy contemporary take on Oliver Twist with a struggling 20-something female (Twist) who finally finds a true sense of family in a strange group of talented outcasts who use their unique skills to take down wealthy criminals.

Writing duo Chad Damiani and J.P. Lavin (who are also adapting game Fruit Ninja as a movie) will pen the script. The duo will exec produce alongside Silver and his Lionsgate Television-based Silver Pictures Television banner. Silver Pictures Television president Rodney Ferrell will also exec produce the Lionsgate TV project.

Dickens' Oliver Twist centered on Oliver Twist, an orphan who is sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker who eventually escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and elderly criminal Fagin, who oversees the gang of juvenile pickpockets.

The Twist news comes days after Fox announced it was updating the tale of King Arthur as Camelot, a modern-day police procedural. Both projects arrive as familiar IP continues to be in high demand as broadcast networks, cable and streaming services look to cut through a cluttered landscape featuring more than 400 original scripted series. Remaking famed classics is no surprise as Fox has found success with its twist on Sleepy Hollow, among other IP.

Oliver Twist was last remade as a feature film in 2005 by Roman Polanski that starred Ben Kingsley as Fagin and Barney Clark as Oliver. Other adaptations have included Broadway and Tony-winning musical Oliver! as well as the 1968 British musical feature film, which won producer John Woolf a best picture Oscar and Carol Reed the best director, among other prizes.

Silver most recently produced feature The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. He next has the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon due. His TV credits include Veronica Mars, Moonlight and the syndicated Tales From the Crypt.

For Lionsgate, Twist marks the latest project for the indie studio. It has New People with Silver Pictures TV set up at Freeform with Don Roos attached to write and direct.

Damiani and Lavin are repped by Paradigm, Stephen Crawford at Industry Entertainment and attorney Eric Suddleson