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Vertical picks up Hot Mess starring Emma Roberts

Photo Credit: Thomas Laisne

Vertical secured an early buy and North American distribution rights out of Cannes for the comedy feature Hot Mess starring Emma Roberts (Maybe I Do, Holidate, American Horror Story, Madame Web) and written by Gabrielle D’Amico. Currently in pre-production, the film 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 at the NBC Short Film Competition. Mister Smith Entertainment, which launched international sales for the film at Cannes, has already concluded distribution agreements with IDC in Latin America, Capelight in Germany, Ascot Elite in Switzerland and Nordisk in Scandinavia, and is currently in closing discussions with other major territories.

Hot Mess 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 (Roberts) ultimately embarks on a hilarious and heartfelt journey to discover self-love and real connections with others.

Debbie Liebling, Maggie Malina and Laura Lewis are producing the project which is scheduled to start shooting in early 2024.

Vertical Partner Peter Jarowey said, “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.”

The producers added, “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 on behalf of Vertical and Laura Lewis of Rebelle Media negotiated on behalf of filmmakers.

Locke O’Brien is repped by The Gersh Agency and Echo Lake Entertainment. D’Amico is repped by The Gersh Agency. Roberts is repped by CAA and Sweeney Entertainment.

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