Feature thesp Alicia Silverstone (“Clueless”) has inked to play the lead role in Darren Star and Jeff Rake’s upcoming matchmaker pilot for NBC.
Role reps Silverstone’s first stab at the small screen. She’ll star as a Gotham matrimonial attorney who doubles as a high-end matchmaker even though her own love life is less than perfect.
Imagine Television is producing the untitled hourlong comedic drama via its overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television. Star, Rake, Brian Grazer and David Nevins are exec producers, with Rake penning the pilot (Daily Variety, Sept. 30.)
“From the moment Darren brought us this idea, we always wanted to get Alicia Silverstone,” Nevins told Daily Variety. “We wanted somebody who had both comedy and drama chops, and it always felt like her part. We even said we wanted ‘an Alicia Silverstone type,’ so we couldn’t be any more excited to get the real Alicia Silverstone.”
Indeed, Nevins said Silverstone — who recently wrapped a nine-month run in the Broadway production of “The Graduate” — “is the only name we pursued for this project.”
Silverstone will play a fictionalized version of Samantha Daniels, a New York attorney who’s snagged tons of press for her elite matchmaking business.
Besides focusing on couples hooking up, skein will be a legal franchise, with Silverstone’s character also dealing with adoption and divorce cases. Her relationship with her father will give the show elements of a family drama.
“It’s a wonderful character, but the character is only as good as the actor you get,” Star said. “And Alicia makes this idea make sense to me. You believe her as someone who believes in other people’s happiness. She has a very empathetic quality and innate sweetness and loveability to her.”
After seeing Silverstone’s turn in “The Graduate,” Star also believes the actress will surprise viewers used to seeing Silverstone in teen roles.
“There’s this grown-up, adult persona that I don’t think people are quite as familiar with,” he said.
NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker said the Peacock was psyched about Silverstone’s casting.
“I’m clueless about a lot of things, but one thing I’m pretty sure about is that Alicia Silverstone is a huge star and will be a tremendous asset to this project,” he said.
Silverstone said that her Broadway run “opened up my mind to the idea of doing television.”
“I had the best time doing ‘The Graduate,’ and I realized it wasn’t about which medium you’re doing,” she said. “If it’s interesting material and people you like, then go for it.”
Silverstone said the project just kept “getting better” in her mind as she learned more details.
“Darren’s amazing; he’s like my love god,” thesp quipped. “Then he comes along with Jeff Rake, and he’s this great writer. And when I sat down with David Nevins at Imagine, he just blew me away. He had such passion and knowledge of the project, he could be a part of the writing team. I really couldn’t pick more interesting people to work with.”
In addition to her recent legit work, Silverstone also exec produces and provides the lead voice for “Braceface,” an ABC Family toon laffer nominated for a Daytime Emmy last year.
Thesp’s feature credits include “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Blast From the Past,” “Batman and Robin,” “Excess Baggage” and “The Crush.”
Silverstone is repped by Mike Packenham of Innovative Artists and manager Carolyn Kessler.