Sony Pictures Television has optioned Lizzy Barber’s psychological thriller ‘Out of Her Depth’ for series development.

Luke Scrase’s Golden Gate Studios, which is under a first-look deal with SPT, will develop the adaptation, which will be written by screenwriter Matilda Curtis.

The novel is an evocative thriller set in the heat of a Tuscan summer. For headstrong Rachel, it is the chance of a lifetime: a summer job in the Tuscan hills, receiving room and board in exchange for her services at the luxurious Villa Medici hotel. It’s not long before she finds herself drawn into a cosmopolitan crowd of friends for whom money is no object, and allegiances can change with the toss of a coin.

When she asks her new friend Diana to help her win the affections of the handsome and charming Sebastian, she thinks she might finally have a chance to become part of their world, but when she discovers that Diana may have intentions of her own, she begins to learn the real cost of friendship. And when Sebastian begins to focus on the sweet and innocent Valentina, Rachel discovers there may be an even higher price to pay.

The suffocating heat, the blinding wealth, the beautiful people: it soon becomes too much, and Rachel finds herself not just out of her depth, but drowning in lies.

Scrase will executive produce alongside Barber. Brendan Fitzgerald, SVP of International Co-Productions for Sony Pictures Television International Production, will oversee the project for the studio. Screenwriter Matilda Curtis is currently in development with Two Brothers Pictures (Fleabag) on TV series ‘Dinosaur’, and is also working on a drama series for Carnival, and ‘Sunshine Girl’, a comedy film in development with Stigma Films.

The deal was brokered by Emily Hayward-Whitlock at The Artists Partnership. Pan Macmillan acquired publishing rights via Luigi Bonomi at Luigi Bonomi Associates in a two-book deal.

Curtis is represented by Independent Talent and UTA.

Jon Creamer

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