Watergate Drama From Producer Sam Esmail Will Star Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, And More

Homecoming's Sam Esmail is bringing another podcast to television.

He'll executive produce Gaslit, a drama that focuses on the "untold stories and forgotten characters" of Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal. The series is based on the popular podcast Slow Burn, which debuted in 2017, and the TV adaptation has lined up an impressive cast: Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, Armie Hammer, and Joel Edgerton are all set to star.

Deadline brings word about the adaptation, which will have Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot, Search Party) on board as the showrunner. Joel Edgerton and his brother, Nash Edgerton, who have been a part of a filmmaking collective for years and have directed four features, 17 episodes of television, and a handful of shorts between them, will direct and executive produce this show.

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.

Penn plays John Mitchell, the ruthless, temperamental, loudmouthed Attorney General, trusted advisor, and best friend of President Richard Nixon. Roberts is playing his wife Martha, who ends up being "the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon's involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel." Her decision puts her husband in a bind: does he choose his wife, or his President?

Hammer is portraying John Dean, the White House lawyer "torn between his ambition and his struggle with whether he can lie to protect the President." Edgerton is set to play G. Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent who finds himself as the primary operative of Nixon's "Plumbers" unit, who is "tasked with plugging embarrassing leaks in the wake of the Pentagon Papers."

As you can tell, there's absolutely no relevance whatsoever to anything happening in today's American political landscape. None.

"Now more than ever, truth is absolutely stranger than fiction," Esmail said in a statement. "When Robbie first told me about the Slow Burn podcast, I devoured it instantly. The second I finished it, I felt compelled to bring this story to television especially after watching the cowardice on display during the recent impeachment hearings. To help realize this important chapter in our country's history, my first call was to the brilliant Julia Roberts. After her captivating performance in Homecoming, I knew Julia was the only person who could tackle the complex role of Martha Mitchell and lead our stellar cast in adapting this bizarre and controversial narrative."

There's no word yet about where this series might land; production company UCP is currently courting premium and streaming platforms, and with this group of talent already assembled, it shouldn't be long before it finds a home.