Paramount+ UK & Ireland commissioned Fremantle's "Little Disasters"

Produced by Roughcut Television in association with Fremantle, the six-part series is based on the novel by best-selling author, Sarah Vaughan. The series will feature Diane Kruger, Jo Joyner, Shelley Conn, and Emily Taaffe.

12 JUN 2024

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Paramount+ UK & Ireland announced the commission of new original drama series "Little Disasters" (6 x 60”), with Diane Kruger ("Troy", "Inglourious Basterds", "In the Fade") and Jo Joyner ("The Wives", "For Her Sins", "Shakespeare & Hathaway") cast in the lead roles as Jess and Liz. The series is produced by Roughcut Television in association with Fremantle who is also distributing internationally. The production of "Little Disasters" has commenced, and the series will be available exclusively on Paramount+ in the UK & Ireland. Fremantle is handling global sales.

From BAFTA-winning creative team Roughcut Television ("COMA", "Big Boys") and adapted from the novel by bestselling author Sarah Vaughan ("Anatomy of a Scandal"), "Little Disasters" is a complex psychological thriller exploring female friendships and motherhood. Joining Kruger and Joyner in this ensemble cast will be Shelley Conn ("Gen V", "Alex Rider", "Bridgerton"), playing ambitious corporate lawyer Charlotte, and Emily Taaffe ("The Rising", "The Beast Must Die", "War and Peace") as free-spirited Mel. Also joining the cast are JJ Feild ("Turn", "Austenland", "The Peripheral") as wealthy and overstretched family man Ed, and Ben Bailey Smith ("Star Wars: Andor", "The Split", "Brief Encounters") who plays Liz’s husband Nick. Stephen Campbell Moore ("The History Boys", "Masters of the Air", "Criminal Record") plays Mel’s husband Rob.

"Little Disasters" is a tense and compelling drama focusing on a decade-long friendship between Jess (Kruger), Liz (Joyner), Mel (Taaffe) and Charlotte (Conn), four expectant mothers who were thrown together with little in common apart from their due dates. When Jess takes her baby daughter to hospital with a head injury that she can’t explain, her close friend and on-duty A&E doctor Liz must make the excruciating decision of whether to call social services on her longtime friend. This decision sets in motion a chain of events that show how one moment can fracture and nearly destroy entire families and friendships.

As the plot unfolds, the consequences of Jess and Liz’s actions come to light, families unravel, and the women begin to articulate long-held judgments against each other. As the truth is unmasked, deep-rooted issues and insecurities are thrust into the spotlight as the women question what really happened to Jess's baby.

German-born Kruger is an internationally renowned actress with a prominent career on both sides of the Atlantic. She won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 for her role in the Palme d'Or nominated film In the Fade and a SAG award for one of her most memorable roles as Bridget von Hammersmark in Quentin Tarantino's critically acclaimed hit "Inglourious Basterds", opposite Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz. Her litany of successful Hollywood films includes the National Treasure film series, as well as Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy. Kruger returns to the UK to star in the upcoming "Little Disasters" for Paramount+, having previously filmed in London on "The Infiltrator", and more recently, "The 355".

Joyner joins the cast, having wrapped on her leading role for thriller The Wives for Channel 5 and the second series of Peacock for BBC Three. Her recent credits include Shakespeare & Hathaway for the BBC, in which she played 'Luella Hathaway' and series regular ‘Erin’ in Harlan Coben’s thriller Stay Close for Netflix. Jo has also starred in various other dramas including No Angels, Doctor Who, Eastenders and Ordinary Lies.

Ruth Fowler and Amanda Duke adapted the series for the screen with Roughcut Television executive producers Ash Atalla, Alex Smith and Marianna Abbotts on board alongside Sarah Vaughan. Simon Judd executive produces for Fremantle, Eva Sigurdardottir is the director and Myf Hopkins serves as the producer.

"Little Disasters" was commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell and Paul Testar for Paramount+ UK & Ireland. On the new series order, Testar praised de author: “We are big fans of Sarah Vaughan’s novel and thrilled to be working on this adaptation with Roughcut Television. Diane, Jo, Shelley and Emily embody our four mothers seamlessly and we can’t wait to see what each of them bring to the series," said.

On the announcement, Roughcut Television’s Marianna Abbotts acknowledged the cast's acting work: “We are so excited to bring Sarah Vaughan’s gripping and thought-provoking novel, 'Little Disasters,' to the screen. Ruth Fowler and Amanda Duke’s brilliant scripts stay true to the themes in the book and shine a light on the dark reaches and intense love of motherhood. We are thrilled that such incredible acting talent, Diane Kruger and Jo Joyner, will be bringing Jess and Liz to life," added.

Finally, Rebecca Dundon, SVP Scripted Acquisitions at Fremantle enumerated the main features of the title: “'Little Disasters' has all the elements of an addictive drama – expertly weaving universal themes of motherhood, friendship, privilege, duty and societal pressures into a provocative nail-biting thriller which we know will engage audiences around the world", highlighted.