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Vertical Pre-Buys Emma Roberts Comedy ‘Hot Mess’ Out Of Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: Vertical has snapped up North American rights out of Cannes to Hot Mess, a new comedy starring Emma Roberts (Madame Web) which is in pre-production for a shoot early next year.

The film repped internationally at Cannes by Mister Smith Entertainment has also already locked in distribution agreements with IDC in Latin America, Capelight in Germany, Ascot Elite in Switzerland and Nordisk in Scandinavia, with deals for other major territories in closing discussions at present.

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Hot Mess marks the feature directorial debut of Katie Locke O’Brien, whose 2018 short film Have It All was a finalist for HBO’s Insider Comedy Short Challenge and a semi-finalist of the NBC Short Film Competition. Written by Gabrielle D’Amico, the film follows Laurel Mack (Roberts), who, after imploding in the worst way possible on a wildly popular American dating show, must do the ultimate walk of shame…back to her hometown. Having failed to win love on the show, she finds herself living in her quirky parents’ basement, without any friends and constantly bumping into her miserable ex the whole town adores. In the face of the never-ending mockery of all who witnessed her public meltdown, Laurel ultimately embarks on a journey to discover self-love and real connections with others.

Pic’s producers are Debbie Liebling, Maggie Malina and Laura Lewis.

Said Vertical Partner Peter Jarowey of the acquisition, “We are thrilled to be in on the ground floor of this fresh, funny, and heartfelt story under the direction of Katie Locke O’Brien. We have had a fantastic track record with Emma this past year, including the hit Maybe I Do, and look forward to seeing her exceptional talent bring ‘Laurel’ to life in Hot Mess.”

Added the film’s producers, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Vertical Entertainment to bring Hot Mess to screens across North America. Vertical has built a name for themselves in the comedy space and we love that they also recognized the freshness and relevance of Hot Mess as their next success story.”

Jarowey and SVP of Production and Development Kristin Harris negotiated the deal for North America on behalf of Vertical, with Rebelle Media’s Lewis negotiating on behalf of the filmmakers.

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