Zelda Williams, daughter of late actor-comedian Robin Williams, inked a deal with Gunpowder & Sky to develop her short film “Shrimp” into a half-hour show about the lives of female pros in the bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism (BDSM) industry.
The show will follow dominatrixes in a Los Angeles BDSM den — both at work with clients, as well as out of latex as they navigate everyday issues like trying to finagle their way out of jury duty. Williams will write, direct, produce and star in the series, which also stars Conor Leslie, Paulina Singer, Frances Fisher, Jake Abel, Jacob Zachar, and Danielle Campbell. The “Shrimp” series is executive produced by Williams and Joshua Thurston.
Gunpowder & Sky plans to shop the “Shrimp” series to premium TV networks and subscription VOD services. G&S bills it as having the same “often blunt female insight” as Amazon/BBC‘s “Fleabag” and Netflix/Lionsgate’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
“When I embarked on creating ‘Shrimp’ a couple of years ago, I never could’ve imagined where this journey would take me, or the wonderful people I’d come to know along the way,” Williams said. “I’m truly ecstatic to have the opportunity to shine a more positive, honest light on this community than has previously been afforded it by Hollywood, especially as their mastery of consent is something I think many people right now could learn from.”
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Williams’ 22-minute “Shrimp” short premiered at the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival in September. The short included cameos from Sasha Lane (“American Honey”) and “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi.
“We were really drawn to ‘Shrimp’ because Zelda was able to take a generally taboo topic, turn it on its head and tap into the day-to-day happenings of the dominatrix community and tell their story in an authentic way,” said Van Toffler, CEO of Gunpowder & Sky.
The development deal with Williams comes after Gunpowder & Sky last month acquired domestic rights to Alex Ross Perry’s riot-grrrl punk epic “Her Smell,” starring Elisabeth Moss. The company operates as a full production and distribution studio and owns a library of over 1,500 titles after acquiring indie film distributor FilmBuff in 2016.
Toffler, a former Viacom and MTV exec, co-founded the company in late 2015 with Floris Bauer in partnership with Chernin Group and AT&T. The company is based in Los Angeles, with offices in New York and London.
Pictured above: Paulina Singer (l.) and Zelda Williams in the “Shrimp” short film