EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has given a 10-episode order to Tiny Pretty Things, an hourlong drama series based on the book by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, from writer Michael MacLennan (Bomb Girls,The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco), Insurrection Media, Mojo Films and Peacock Alley. The Internet TV network also has announced the series regular cast with shooting currently underway in Toronto for a 2020 premiere.
Cast includes Lauren Holly (Designated Survivor, Dumb and Dumber), Kylie Jefferson (Davido’s Fall, SchoolboyQ’s Chopstix), Casimere Jollette (Code Black, Dirty John), Daniela Norman (Cats), Brennan Clost (The Next Step, Creeped Out), Michael Hsu Rosen (Jessica Jones, Broadway’s Torch Song), Damon J. Gillespie (Rise, The Society), Bayardo De Murguia (Shooter, Hombre), Barton Cowperthwaite (Center Stage: On Pointe, Fosse/Verdon), Tory Trowbridge (Broadway’s The Cher Show, American in Paris) and Jess Salgueiro (The Boys, Letterkenny).
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Written by MacLennan based on the book, Tiny Pretty Things is set in the world of an elite ballet academy and charts the rise and fall of young adults who live far from their homes, each standing on the verge of greatness or ruin. As Chicago’s only elite dance school, the Archer School of Ballet serves as the company school for the city’s renowned professional company: City Works Ballet. The Archer School is an oasis for an array of dancers: rich and poor, from north and south, and a range of backgrounds. Yet they all share a rare talent and passion for dance, a loyal sense of community… and when it comes to their dreams, no Plan B.
MacLennan also serves as showrunner and executive produces with Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, Jordanna Fraiberg, and Deborah Henderson of Insurrection Media, Gary Fleder, who directs the first episode, and Gabrielle Neimand of Mojo Films, and Carrie Mudd of Peacock Alley.
Insurrection had optioned the book through its strategic relationship with the publisher HarperCollins and spent a year developing the project before taking it to Netflix. Insurrection put together the creative team, including showrunner MacLennan and Fleder.
Holly portrays Monique, a former dancer turned The Archer School director. Driven by ambition and a true belief in ASB’s value, Monique holds unique power over the school, using her dark capacities not only to defend her institution, but also to bring about the best in her students regardless of her means.
Jefferson plays Neveah, the rebel with raw talent and fierce determination who looks to rise above her roots and find a future in the world of ballet laurent without losing her unique and fiery approach to dance. Neveah is staring down the greatest opportunity of her life – a chance to be a student of the Archer School of Ballet as a last-minute replacement.
Jollette is Bette, a ruthlessly perfect, supremely confident, ambitious “music box ballerina.” She’s rich but not entitled, works harder than anyone else –due in part to spending her life playing second fiddle to her older sister Delia.
Norman plays June, a sweet and petite dancer raised by a strict businesswoman mother. The Archer School of Ballet is the only place she feels like she belongs. After what feels like a lifetime playing back-up, she is ready to earn her time in the spotlight, proving to her mother that ballet is where she belongs.
Clost portrays Shane, stacked and fiery, from a small town, he grew up tormented for loving dance, and has become a hot-headed scrapper – and his family’s greatest hope.
Rosen is Nabil, a man with the swagger of Baryshnikov and the cold eyes of a potential killer. This new recruit is worldly, strange, and has a wicked technique. Born in Malaysia before moving to Paris, Nabil comes with intimidating levels of power and potential.
Gillespie plays Caleb, a lean and handsome dancer who uses his ready humor and undeniable talent, in order to mask his struggles with a profound loss — and a secret that could unravel the institution.
De Murguia portrays Ramon, a lean god with a deep baritone, Ramon is a former bad-boy dancer turned visionary choreographer. He’s not big on criticism, especially from students, which produces friction within the Archer School of Ballet and with his girlfriend and muse of the moment, Delia.
Cowperthwaite plays Oren, a strapping prince of a man, wealth and good looks gave him great roles, Bette as a girlfriend, and primed him for success, but beneath this veneer lies crippling anxiety, a dysfunctional obsession with his body, and a need for physical perfection.
Trowbridge is Delia, Bette’s older sister, and dancer of supreme caliber and beauty, Delia is the Whitlaw Family’s first prodigy, returning to Chicago after two years dancing abroad. With her newfound success, Delia relishes her new role as a diva, triumphantly returning to the school that scorned her when she was a student.
Salgueiro plays Isabel, a cop with a dancer’s ram-rod discipline from two tours of duty in Afghanistan before she traded in one uniform for another. With her ambition and keen moral compass, she’s uniquely qualified to search for the truth of what happened during a mysterious accident at the Academy.
De Murguia is repped by Luber Roklin Entertainment and GVA Talent. Gillespie is repped by Gray Talent Group. Salgueiro is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment and GGA. Cowperthwaite is repped by Lakey Wolff & Company and Peikoff Mahan. Trowbridge is repped by Bernard F. Bunye of Forte Artist Management and Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates. Holly is repped by Gilbertson Entertainment, The Characters Talent Agency and Mavrick Artists Agency. Jollette is repped by Luber Roklin and Management by Morgan. Rosen is with CESD and TMT Entertainment Group. Jefferson is repped by Julie Medeiros at GTA. MacLennan is repped by Kaplan/Perrone.