Anne Fletcher (“Step Up,” “27 Dresses,” the massive box office juggernaut that was “The Proposal”) is getting back behind the camera with an all-new indie offering: “Dumplin,'” based on the well-received YA novel by Julie Murphy.
“Dumplin'” follows Willowdean, the daughter of Rosie, a former beauty pageant queen who now runs the local Texas pageant. To get back at her (very different) mother, Willowdean and her friends ban together to join the pageant and presumably throw it into disarray. What begins as a prank for Willowdean suddenly turns into her leading a group of misfit teenagers into the vicious realms of pageantry. The film is reportedly “music-driven” and in the realm of “Bring It On” and “Pitch Perfect.”
Deadline reports that Jennifer Aniston has now joined the project as Rosie. In the past, Fletcher has found success with adult-themed comedies, but her comedic energies and chops should prove to be a welcome addition to the charms of “Dumplin.'” No other casting announcements are known at this time (including who will play Willowdean).
Back in 2015 Disney acquired the rights to to Murphy’s book, though they eventually decided to drop the film. Despite the loss of a big budget and studio backing, the independent freedom gained could make for some truly dynamic narrative filmmaking outside the limitations of a major studio. Kristin Hahn penned the screenplay and will produce, and Michael Costigan will produce under his COTA Films banner.