'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Director Tackling Gay Rights With 'Case Against 8' Movie (Exclusive)

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Marielle Heller

Chernin Entertainment is producing the feature adaptation of the award-winning HBO documentary.

Marielle Heller, who wrote and directed the Sundance breakout Diary of a Teenage Girl, is now setting her sights on gay rights.

She is set to write and direct a feature film adaptation of The Case Against 8, Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s HBO documentary about the fight to overturn California’s same-sex marriage ban.

Chernin Entertainment is producing the film with 20th Century Fox, with whom the production company has its first-look deal and which holds the rights to finance and distribute the project.

The award-winning doc told of the legal fight to stop Proposition 8 and focused on attorneys Ted Olsen and David Boies — the two men fought on opposite sides of a polarized nation during Bush v. Gore — and how they buried their political differences for this landmark civil rights battle, teaming up to defend the couples who took Prop 8 to court in order to realize their lifelong dreams to marry.

The multiyear battle went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to the momentous decision to legalize marriage for all gay Americans.

Case Against 8 won Sundance’s directing award in the U.S. documentary section in 2014 and received the audience award at SXSW.

Heller made a lot of noise with her debut, 2015's Diary of a Teenage Girl. The movie won best first feature honors at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, where Heller also was nominated for best first screenplay, and she also was nominated for a DGA Award for outstanding directorial achievement of a first-time feature film director.

Diary of a Teenage Girl has given Heller a springboard, with the filmmaker having directed episodes of Transparent and Casual. Most noteworthy, it led to her teaming up with producer J.J. Abrams and actress Daisy Ridley for the supernatural love story Kolma, a deal that was announced earlier this week.

Heller is repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment negotiated the feature film deal on behalf of Cotner.