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“Drop Dead Diva” alum Kate Levering will fill Reese Witherspoon’s shoes as Annette Hargrove in NBC’s drama pilot “Cruel Intentions.”
The Hollywood Reporter describes the character as “beautiful, genuine, strong and a good Christian woman for whom life has not been easy. The character lives in the small town of Newton, with her 17-year-old son Bash and her husband, Trevor. Very close to Bash, with whom she has a warm, close, playful relationship, Annette is rocked by Trevor’s sudden death and Bash’s discovery that his biological father is the billionaire hotel magnate Sebastian Valmont, with whom Annette had a scandalous relationship when she was in high school. Annette’s life starts to unravel when Bash goes to San Francisco to meet his birth family and Annette follows him, coming face to face with her nemesis, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and dealing with the scandalous fallout of her husband’s death.”
In addition to “Drop Dead Diva,” which ended in 2014, Levering has appeared in “Kevin Hill,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Ghost Whisperer” and “NCIS: LA.”
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair, the original film was a modern take on the 1782 novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses.” A box-office success, it inspired a direct-to-video prequel and sequel.
The TV update will center on Bash Casey, the 16-year-old son of the late Sebastian Valmont (played by Phillppe in the 1999 film) and Annette Hargrove (originally played by Witherspoon). When he discovers his late father’s journal, Bash learns about the family legacy, and in his search for answers trades life in small-town Kansas for a scholarship to the prestigious Brighton Preparatory Academy in San Francisco.
Kumble is on board to direct the pilot and co-write with Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross, who were behind behind this summer’s “Cruel Intentions Musical” in Los Angeles. Gellar has also announced her return to the series. The project hails from Sony Television.