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Lively will star in and produce the feature through her B for Effort banner along with Kate Vorhoff, giving the high-profile actress a potential franchise to call her own.
Levy will produce via his prolific 21 Laps banner with partner Dan Cohen.
The project hails from rising scribe Michael Paisley, who only two years ago was working in the CAA mailroom. Paisley came up with the story and will now write the screenplay for what is envisioned as a trilogy.
Details are being kept deep in the vault, but the effort is described as a character-driven thriller set against a catastrophic event and centers on a woman going to extreme lengths to survive and save her family.
Paisley began conceptualizing the story late last year, but the ideas crystallized as the pandemic began to take hold in the U.S. While the story is not related to a contagion, a world-altering event is a key foil and themes of isolation and strength of family emerge.
As word got out as to what Paisley was working on, producers came knocking on his door, along with numerous virtual meetings occurring. Ultimately, Cohen and Levy joined forces with Lively and B for Effort to bring the project to Netflix in a competitive environment.
Paisley, after leaving the mailroom, worked last year as a writer’s production assistant on the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher, all the while honing his craft via specs. The 26-year-old from Westfield, Indiana, sold his first one, a horror thriller titled Dollhouse and set in New York’s fashion scene, to STX in November.
21 Laps has been using the Hollywood shutdown to put its nose to the grindstone and focus on projects. Magna Carta is the fourth project the company has set up since stay-at-home orders went into effect. 21 Laps is also readying Levy’s latest directorial effort, Free Guy, which stars Lively’s husband, Ryan Reynolds.
Lively is repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Jeff Bernstein. Paisley is repped by CAA and MXN.
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