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Julia Roberts, Sean Penn to Star in Watergate Drama for Starz


Starz has picked up the anthology series Gaslit, starring Julia Roberts (Homecoming, Wonder) and Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River).

Gaslit is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal—from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.

The story will center on Martha Mitchell, played by Roberts. A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General John Mitchell, played by Penn.

Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic, 28 Hotel Rooms) will direct and executive produce the series, adapted from Slate’s award-winning podcast Slow Burn’s first season. Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot, Search PartyNatural Selection) will be serving as showrunner. Along with Pickering and Ross, Sam Esmail (Homecoming, Mr. Robot), via his overall deal with UCP, and Chad Hamilton (Mr. Robot, Homecoming) serve as executive producers under their production banner Esmail Corp. Roberts will executive produce under her banner Red Om Films along with co-executive producers Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Anonymous Content and Slate’s Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin will also executive produce. Leon Nayfakh, who created the podcast, will consult on the project.

Gaslit is the newest title from Starz, which recently launched its #TakeTheLead initiative, the company’s effort to deepen its existing commitment to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.

“I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the heartbreaking, fascinating story of Martha Mitchell with the world,” said Pickering. “Martha was the first and loudest voice to speak out against the bumbling criminality of a crooked presidential administration and she was one of the most complicated public martyrs of the era. To find anyone willing to tell her story is a dream. To be making it with Sam, Julia, Sean, Matt, UCP and Starz seems impossible. I’m over the moon.”

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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