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Showtime Orders Sex Trafficking Drama Pilot ‘Coercion’ From Susannah Grant, Sydney Chandler to Star

Susannah Grant (Left) and Sydney Chandler (Right)

Courtesy of Don Flood; Valerie Macon/AFP

Showtime has ordered a drama pilot inspired by the life of Rebecca Bender, a national leader on and survivor of sex trafficking, Variety has learned.

The pilot is titled “Coercion.” It hails from Susannah Grant, with Sydney Chandler attached to star. The series picks up with Bender’s escape from the world of sex trafficking after six years, her struggles to return to a “normal” life, and her emergence as a confident, funny and impassioned advocate for justice.

Bender is now one of nation’s foremost experts on sex trafficking and serves as a consultant for federal law enforcement.

“’Coercion’ is based on Rebecca Bender’s personal story of entrapment in the world of sex trafficking, her escape and her stunning emergence as a relentless force against that world,” said Amy Israel, executive vice president of scripted programming for Showtime. “We’re excited to be working with Susannah, whose work as a writer and director is always sharply observed and moving. And Sydney Chandler promises to captivate audiences as she takes on this challenging role.”

Grant is writing and directing the pilot in addition to serving as executive producer. Bender will also executive produce along with Gail Lyon and Rosanna Arquette, who is a longtime advocate for survivors of sex trafficking. Paul Lee and Hope Hartman of wiip are also executive producers.

The project reunites Grant and Lyon, who previously collaborated on the hit film “Erin Brockovich.” Grant wrote the film and received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Lyon was a co-producer on the film. Lyon and Chandler, meanwhile, worked together recently on Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols series at FX, on which Lyon is an executive producer and in which Chandler will star as Chrissie Hynde.

Chandler will next be seen in Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” alongside Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, and Chris Pine. This will mark her feature debut.

She is repped by UTA, Mosaic, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman

In addition to her work on “Erin Brockovich,” Grant is known for her work on films like “28 Days,” “In Her Shoes,” and “Catch and Release,” which she also directed. On the TV side, she was the writer, director, and showrunner of the Netflix series “Unbelievable,” which earned her two Emmy Award nominations. She is currently working on the show “Lessons in Chemistry” with Brie Larson at Apple and “Fleishman Is in Trouble” at FX on Hulu.

She is repped by Lenore Entertainment Group.

Variety's Joe Otterson contributed to this post.


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