EXCLUSIVE: Esteemed indie filmmaker Drake Doremus (Like Crazy) is making his first major move into television with the series One Day in December in development at Netflix, which has Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) attached to exec produce and star, according to multiple sources.
Netflix declined to comment, and the show’s studio Fifth Season could not be reached. But the romantic drama series is based on the Josie Silver novel of the same name, which was a hotly pursued property after coming in as both #1 New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, upon its 2018 publication by Random House.
The book tells the story of Laurie, who per the publisher, “is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.” Laurie subsequently spends a year or so scouring London in search of the mystery man. His name is Jack, she learns, when he’s finally introduced to her at a Christmas party — as the new boyfriend of her best friend, Sarah. “What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack,” per Random House, “is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered.”
The One Day in December series hails from Fifth Season, which tapped Doremus to develop the project with Contenta Superba’s Joel Stillerman (Blow, Rounders). Doremus will write, direct and exec produce alongside Boynton and Stillerman. While Boynton will play the role of Laurie, a male lead for the show has not yet been set. Sources tell us that the project is being approached as a limited series, with potential for further installments in success, in the vein of such runaway hit miniseries as The White Lotus and The Flight Attendant.
Well known for his remarkably intimate and improvisatory films examining romances of different kinds, Doremus has in his nearly two-decade career honed vehicles for such A-list stars as Felicity Jones, Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Lawrence, Ewan McGregor, Lea Seydoux, Laia Costa and the late Anton Yelchin, most of which premiered at Sundance.
Buzz around the writer-director began percolating upon the Sundance premiere of his 2010 feature dramedy Douchebag and hit an entirely different level when his romance Like Crazy, starring then- up-and-comer Jones, Yelchin and Lawrence, hit the Park City, UT festival, claiming both the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and a Special Jury Prize recognizing Jones’ performance.
Subsequent feature efforts from Doremus include the forbidden love tale Breathe In, led by Jones and Pearce; the futuristic Equals, produced by Scott Free and starring Hoult and Stewart, which world premiered in Venice and was released by A24; Netflix’s Newness starring Hoult and Costa, which was also produced by Scott Free; the Tribeca Centerpiece title Zoe, starring McGregor and Seydoux, which was released by Amazon; and the TIFF-premiering Endings, Beginnings with Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. In addition to Endings, Beginnings, Zoe and Newness, Doremus produced Love, Antosha — a loving documentary tribute to Yelchin, who died in a sudden and tragic accident in 2016.
Boynton is perhaps best known for her turn as Mary Austin — the lifelong friend and one-time girlfriend of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) — in Twentieth Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won four Oscars from five nominations and grossed over $910M worldwide. The actress most recently appeared opposite Christian Bale and Harry Melling in Scott Cooper’s Edgar Allan Poe pic The Pale Blue Eye, which stole the top slot on Netflix’s English-Language films list from Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion in early January. Additional film credits include Murder on the Orient Express, John Carney’s Golden Globe-nominated Sing Street and the Osgood Perkins horror pics The Blackcoat’s Daughter and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House.
Boynton has also been seen on The Ipcress File, BritBox’s Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? and Netflix’s series The Politician and Gypsy, among others. The actress also currently has two upcoming films set for distribution by Searchlight: the historical drama Chevalier hitting theaters on April 21, which has her portraying Queen Marie Antoinette, and Ned Benson’s romance The Greatest Hits.
Other romance novels by the Wolverhampton-based author Silver include The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and One Night on the Island.
Notable recent projects from the global content studio Fifth Season (formerly Endeavor Content) include the hit sports comedy 80 for Brady released by Paramount and the Apple series Severance, which won two Emmys from 14 noms in its first go-round. Upcoming projects from the company include Book Club 2: The Next Chapter, which hits theaters via Focus on May 12; William Oldroyd’s acclaimed Sundance thriller Eileen, starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway, which is heading to Prime Video; John Carney’s Flora and Son, which sold to Apple out of Sundance for around $20M; and the Sundance prize-winning documentary Going Varsity in Mariachi.
Doremus is represented by CAA, Entertainment 360 and attorney Larry Kopeikin; Boynton by CAA, the UK’s United Agents and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.