YouTube may be pulling back on plans for scripted originals, but it’s full-steam ahead on its Edge of Seventeen pilot.
The TV spinoff has found its lead in Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games), who will take on a version of the role made famous by Hailee Steinfeld in the feature film on which the new project is based.
Based on the 2016 film from Robert Simonds’ STX Entertainment, Annabel Oakes (Amazon’s Transparent, Netflix’s Atypical) will pen the script for the pilot, which revolves around Mira, a high school student, and her best friend, Lou (short for Louise), as they navigate the relationships, feelings and realities of being teenage girls. Kelly Fremon Craig, who wrote, directed and produced the feature, is attached to executive produce the YouTube iteration. Liana Liberato (Hulu’s Light as a Feather) will play Lou.
Fuhrman’s Mira is a whip-smart underachiever trying to survive high school until the moment she can escape her hometown and loving, but messy, family. Socially, she’s a floater, along with her best friend Lou. A clique of two. But when things start to shift in their friendship, Mira will have to search her world for other connections to help her endure her seemingly endless adolescence.
Liberato’s Lou is described as smart, dry, introverted and way overachieving. Her family is religious, but lately Lou is having trouble reconciling her faith with her impulses. Still, while her older brother is rebelling, she feels pressure to be the “good kid.” Her only rebellion to date is being friends with the fun and impulsive Mira, who brings out a darker, funnier side of her that no one else knows.
Steinfeld, who earned a Golden Globe nomination, starred in the Edge of Seventeen feature as Nadine, a teen outcast balancing strained relationships with her overly dramatic mother (Kyra Sedgwick) and her popular older brother (Blake Jenner), who begins dating Nadine’s best friend (Haley Lu Richardson). Woody Harrelson co-starred as a sympathizing high school teacher.
Oakes (Amazon’s Transparent, Netflix’s Atypical) will direct the pilot, which is being exec produced by the film’s writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig. Production is set to begin in January in Los Angeles.
Fuhrman is repped by UTA, Management 360, Curtis Brown and Gang Tyre. Liberato is with CAA and Management 360.
The Edge of Seventeen is one of a handful of scripted projects that remain in the works as YouTube plans to scale back on the genre beginning in 2020. The move arrives as YouTube plans to focus on its free ad-supported business by making all future originals free to its 2 billion users, regardless of whether they pay a monthly subscription rate for YouTube Premium.