Lionsgate Boards Robbie Amell’s Wattpad Romance ‘Float’ (Exclusive)

The film also has found its leading lady in 'Kim's Convenience' star Andrea Bang.

Lionsgate has joined Robbie Amell’s Float, the adaptation of Kate Marchant’s hit Wattpad story that also has found its director and leading lady.

The beach romance, which began shooting in Vancouver last week, stars Kim’s Convenience star Andrea Bang as Waverly, who impulsively decides to spend her summer before college in a beach town, where she finds herself falling for local lifeguard Blake (Amell). Soon, Waverly has to decide between her pre-planned future of becoming a doctor and following her heart.

Sherren Lee, making her feature directorial debut, will helm the project. Lee, who also co-wrote the screenplay for Float with Jesse LaVercombe, has other connections to both of her leads: She directed two episodes of Bang’s hit Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience and is co-writing with LaVercombe the sequel to Amell’s Netflix sci-fi actioner Code 8.

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Amell also is producing Float alongside his Collective Pictures partners Jeff Chan, Chris Paré and Matthew Kariatsumari, as well as Wattpad Webtoon Studios’ Aron Levitz and Brightlight Pictures’ Aaron Au and Shawn Williamson. Executive producers are Wattpad’s Allen Lau and Jamie D. Greenberg, Wattpad Webtoon Studios’ Eric Lehrman and Lindsey Weems Ramey and Jordan Nahmias, Emily Alden, Noah Segal and Sandra Desrosiers Karr.

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Float is the kind of magical adventure that’s possible when you open yourself up to new experiences and possibilities,” Lionsgate’s vp, co-productions and acquisitions said in a statement. “That’s as true for us as filmmaking partners as it is for the characters in the film. The chemistry between Robbie and Andrea is undeniable, and we can’t wait to share Float with audiences everywhere.”

Lionsgate will handle global sales for Float (Elevation Pictures will distribute in Canada), with an eye toward a distribution strategy and platforms tailored for the film, which like the original web story is expected to attract a young and female audience. Marchant’s 32-chapter tale is only available to paid users on Wattpad, where it has accrued 25.9 million views on the self-publishing storytelling platform.

Float is already a phenomenon,” Levitz said in a statement. “This is a project with millions of reads on Wattpad and a passionate global fanbase who can’t wait to see Float on screens everywhere. We’re thrilled to be working with Lionsgate and incredible talent like Andrea, Sherren and Robbie to bring this project to life.”

Added Au in a statement, “Brightlight Pictures is proud to be working with a talent like Sherren, who is bringing both an authentic and personal take on a classic love story to life.”

The cast also includes Andrew Bachelor (also known as comedian and digital content creator King Bach), Rukiya Bernard (Syfy’s Van Helsing), Michelle Krusiec (Netflix’s Hollywood), Sarah Desjardins (Riverdale), Ghazal Azarbad (The CW’s Charmed) and Tristan Arthurs (The CW’s Kung Fu).

“As a romantic myself, I want audiences to believe in love and that summer romances don’t only happen in the movies,” Lee said in a statement. “This story about family and belonging is such an universal one and also so poignant to me, as an immigrant. I’m so grateful to Kate to have created this beautiful story and allowed me to bring a piece of myself to this adaptation.”

In the original Wattpad story, Waverly was not written as Asian, but during the process of adaptation, Lee worked with Marchant to bring some of the director’s own background into Waverly’s story.

“With Sherren directing and Andrea starring, we’re proud to have exceptional Asian-Canadian talent bringing this much anticipated love story to life and paving the way for a more inclusive industry, in front of and behind the camera,” Chan said in a statement. “Our incredible partnership with Lionsgate and Wattpad furthers our mission to elevate diverse stories and storytellers as we reach audiences across the globe.”