dolly

It’s hard to resist a good elevator pitch, especially when said elevator pitch involves Florence Pugh playing a killer sex robot. The Oscar-nominated Little Women, Midsommar, and Black Widow star has landed her next high-profile project in Dolly, a genre-bending sci-film that has just been acquired by Apple Studios.

Deadline reports that Apple Studios has won out in a competitive bidding war for Dolly, a new feature film starring Pugh with Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water) and Drew Pearce (Hotel Artemis) penning the script.

Described as a sci-fi courtroom drama, Dolly follows a robotic “companion doll” that kills its owner “and then shocks the world by claiming that she is not guilty and asking for a lawyer.” The film is inspired by Elizabeth Bear’s short story of the same name, published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2011.

But Deadline notes that the project is not yet greenlit, as the script is still unwritten and a director still needs to be brought on board. But the package was too hard to resist, attracting four bidders, including multiple studios and another streamer, with Apple TV+ ultimately winning out.

And it’s easy to see why Dolly became such a hot item. Pugh is one of the industry’s most exciting rising stars (not to mention the internet’s favorite pandemic celebrity), breaking out in a big way in 2019 with a string of scene-stealing performances in Fighting With My FamilyMidsommar, and Little Women, the latter of which earned her an Oscar nod. And her star will only rise further still, with Pugh set to cross over into blockbuster territory in Marvel’s Black Widow and Olivia Wilde’s in-production Don’t Worry Darling. But she’s been knocking it out of the park since her feature lead debut in Lady Macbeth, in which she played a morally ambiguous young woman, whose ruthless nature I could see Pugh pulling from for her role in Dolly.

The courtroom drama meets sci-fi thriller aspect of Dolly is appealing, though it will require a deft hand to balance the two genres and prevent the story from falling too far into pulpy sci-fi. The concept of a robot not only gaining sentience, but enough sentience to demand a lawyer, feels like an idea that Alex Garland (Ex MachinaDevs) has been touching on in his cerebral sci-fi projects, so perhaps he would be a good fit to direct this kind of film.

Apple Studios is attached to produce Dolly with Pearce also producing through Point of No Return Films, and Pugh and Taylor will executive produce. Ian Fisher executive produces through Point of No Return Films.

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