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NBC’s ‘Cruel Intentions’ Pilot Casts Young Lead

NBC’s “Cruel Intentions” pilot, which is a sequel set 15 years after the movie, has found its young lead in actor Taylor John Smith, Variety has learned.

Smith will play Bash Casey, the son of the late Sebastian Valmont (the character that was played by Ryan Phillippe in the ’90s film) and Annette Hargrove (the character played by Reese Witherspoon in the original). Upon discovering his late father’s legacy in a hidden journal, Bash (Smith) is introduced to a world of sex, money, power and corruption he never could have imagined. The project also revolves around Kathryn Merteuil (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar in the movie), as she vies for control of Valmont International, as well as the soul of Bash.

Gellar has been courted to reprise her role since the pilot pickup, and is seriously engaging in conversations, though a deal has not yet closed. Insiders tell Variety that the “Buffy” alum is privy to the script and would return to “Cruel” in a series regular role, should she decide to sign on.

Though Witherspoon’s character is still alive in the “Cruel Intentions” saga, she has not and will not be approached to return to the potential series. The role of Annette is currently being cast for the pilot.

Roger Kumble, the original writer and director of “Cruel Intentions,” will exec produce and direct the pilot, which was penned by scribes Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross. The writing duo will also serve as exec producers, along with Neil Moritz and Pavun Shetty of Original Film. Sony Pictures Television is the studio.

A relative newcomer, Smith has had a slew of smaller roles in the past year with guest gigs on many TV shows including a current arc on ABC’s “American Crime,” plus “Chicago P.D.,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Hart of Dixie.” He recently signed with CAA.

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