Octavia Spencer and her production company Orit Entertainment have partnered with ID and Discovery+ as well as October Films to develop and executive produce a slate of true crime projects.
Two projects are already in production, with more in development. “Highway 20” (working title) is the first project to come out of the deal. The three-episode documentary series begins with the case of a missing 13-year-old girl and expands to examine a stretch of Oregon’s U.S. Highway 20 where many women and girls went missing or were raped or murdered between the 1970s and 1990s. As the discovery of numerous unsolved crimes sparks fear in the local community, the series focuses on the possibility that a serial killer has been roaming the highway for decades, asking poignant questions of our society’s treatment of women.
“Highway 20” is inspired by the work of journalist Noelle Crombie, videographer Dave Killen and photojournalist Beth Nakamura of The Oregonian, and directed by Arianna Lapenne.
“As an avid fan of true crime, to now be partners with ID and October Films is a dream,” said Spencer. “Everyone at Orit Entertainment is committed to shedding light on the most fascinating cases and crime stories with a unique perspective. We are thrilled to launch our collaboration with ‘Highway 20’ (wt), an incredible series of cases that took place over decades, only recently connected into a larger story – and this is just the beginning.”
“Octavia is a creative force who brings a level of unparalleled curiosity and honesty to every story she tells. Upon learning that she and her amazing team at Orit share a deep passion for crime and investigative content, and had joined forces with our trusted partners at October, we knew this was a relationship we wanted to invest heavily in,” said Jason Sarlanis, Warner Bros. Discovery’s president of crime and investigative content, linear and streaming. “This unique collaboration brings together one of the best production entities in the business, a superstar talent who also happens to be a super-fan with Octavia and Orit, and the biggest brand dedicated to the true crime genre. ‘Highway 20’ is an incredible event series and exemplifies the powerful stories we look forward to telling through this amazing partnership.”
Matt Robins, creative director of October Films, added: “We’re delighted to bring a blossoming creative partnership to such a fantastic platform. Octavia and Orit’s passion for telling true crime stories in a fresh and illuminating way was abundantly clear from our very first conversation. The Warner Bros. Discovery group has encouraged and enabled us to think big as we build a blockbuster slate of premium documentary series. To begin that journey with the remarkable ‘Highway 20’ is a rare and meaningful opportunity.”
Along with Spencer, executive producers of ‘Highway 20’ include Orit Entertainment’s Brian Clisham and Stephanie Kluft, October Films’ Gillian Pachter and Matt Robins, Advance Originals’ Marsha Oglesby, Circle of Confusion’s Susan Solomon and ID’s Lorna Thomas.