Dietland has found its lead in Joy Nash, as AMC announced this week that the actress (known for her appearances in The Mindy Project and Twin Peaks) will be heading the cast of the cable network's 10-episode straight-to-series order based on Sarai Walker's darkly comedic-dramatic 2015 novel of the same name. Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men), Skydance TV and AMC Studios are backing the production, with Noxon serving as executive producer, writer and showrunner. Noxon is also expected to direct multiple episodes of the series.
Set against the backdrop of the beauty industry and seen as a character drama/revenge fantasy, Dietland shines a spotlight on society's obsession with weight loss and beauty in a way that the creators hope is both comedic and though-provoking in unique ways.
Here's how publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt summarizes the novel, giving us some insight into Nash's character, Plum Kettle:
"The diet revolution is here. And it's armed.
Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you're fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls' magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin.
Then, when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself falling down a rabbit hole and into an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. There Plum agrees to a series of challenges that force her to deal with her past, her doubts, and the real costs of becoming "beautiful." At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called "Jennifer" begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive."
Nash is no stranger to the conversation about how the media impacts society's perceptions of weight and beauty: in 2007, she posted a monologue that she had written in a USC drama class to YouTube. A Fat Rant urged plus-size women to stop obsessing about their weight and embrace the way they look. The video went viral, garnering over 1.8 million views so far and a subsequent series of videos from Nash.
"Joy is everything I hoped we'd find in our leading woman — beautiful, smart and blazing with talent," said Noxon. "When she auditioned the whole room was electrified. I can't wait for the world to meet her 'Plum.' "
Skydance's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross will serve as executive producers on the series, along with Maria Grasso of Tiny Pyro, Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures and Jacqueline Hoyt.