“Ice Princess” Michelle Trachtenberg is gliding to Lifetime.
Thesp has signed to topline cabler’s original movie “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier,” based on the bestselling novel by Ann Packer. Con Artists, the TV arm of Mel Gibson’s Icon Prods., and Fox TV Studios are producing. Bruce Davey, Nancy Cotton and Brenda Friend exec produce.
Project tells the coming-of-age story of a small-town woman’s journey of self-discovery after her fiance suffers a serious accident. Production begins in April. John Wierick wrote the script to be directed by Harry Winer.
“Dive” reps Trachtenberg’s first adult role — a marked departure from previous projects “Eurotrip” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“Michelle is at a very interesting moment in her career. She really wanted to branch out with this movie,” Lifetime longform chief Trevor Walton said.
Walton said “Dive” is a good example of how he hopes to diversify the Lifetime movie slate. “I hate the idea of doing the same movie every month, so we’re trying to mix it up. We have some sit-back-and-have-a-good-time movies, like ‘Confessions of an American Bride,’ and the more traditional inspirational or serious issue stories that most people associate with us.
” ‘Dive’ is so great because it’s a movie that poses difficult questions and there aren’t any clear answers. It’s where we get to ask our audience to think a little harder, and that’s a good thing.”
Fox TV Studios exec VP of scripted programming David Madden was attracted to the piece because it is a departure for Lifetime. “It’s a movie where the protagonist is still figuring out her own sense of values. This pushes the boundaries for us and Lifetime,” said Madden, who is overseeing for the studio with Lisa Demburg.
Lifetime has made a conscious effort to recruit younger thesps for some of its movies: Thora Birch, Danielle Panabaker, Alexa Vega and Hayden Panettiere have starred in recent made-fors.
That’s because Lifetime courts both mothers and daughters, Walton said. Cabler recently boosted its women 18-34 numbers with reality shows, revamped drama “Missing” and its Monday night movie franchise.
Trachtenberg’s film credits include “Inspector Gadget” and “Harriet the Spy.” She has gueststarred in HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”