Annapurna Television has started development on a TV show about the explosive college admission bribery scandal that started in March. At the time, 33 wealthy, influential and even famous parents were arrested for allegedly paying huge bribes to get their kids into top colleges. That included former Desperate Housewives star, Felicity Huffman.
The scandal — known as "operation varsity blue" within the FBI — was the top story for weeks, and it captivated the nation. It should come as no surprise that media about the scandal is in the works, according to a report by Variety.
The show is actually based on an upcoming book called Accepted. Written by Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz, the book is due out from Portfolio, a division of Random House, later this year.
In the meantime, Annapurna Television has already optioned the book for a limited series. The story will be adapted for TV by D.V. DeVincentis. The screenwriter is known for dramatic work and some true crime credits, including a few scripts for The People v. O.J. Simpson.
The show is in the very early stages of development, and it will be quite a while before any substantial details are available. Still, given our knowledge of the story, there are some predictions, hopes and educated guesses we can throw around, especially when it comes to casting.
Huffman was one of the most famous parents in the scandal, and one of the first to plead guilty. She struck a plea deal that will likely land her in prison for 4 to 10 months. Meanwhile, her husband, William H. Macy, avoided indictment, though he may have been involved in the bribe as well.
Huffman pleaded guilty to paying a bribe of $15,000 to a college admission adviser named Rick Singer. Singer, in turn, passed the money along to an SAT proctor, who helped Huffman's daughter with the test and corrected some of her answers for her after the fact.
Huffman has expressed remorse for her actions, and accepted her punishment without flinching. Many fans are still eager to see her role in the scandal played out on TV. Here are some top picks to play Huffman in the TV version of operation varsity blue.
Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Laura Dern shares similar features with Huffman, and has the acting chops to do her justice. Dern may have her hands full between Big Little Lies and Little Women, however, so there is no telling whether she would agree to the miniseries.
Lucy Lawless not only looks the part of Felicity Huffman, but she also wants the part, and she may be the only one so far. When news of the TV miniseries first broke, Lawless made her feelings known on Twitter loud and proud.
"Who should play Felicity and Lori?" wondered TV Line editor Michael Ausiello.
"BOTH OF THEM. I WANT TO PLAY BOTH OF THEM!!!!" wrote Lawless in response.
Gone Girl star Carrie Coon has also been put forward as a strong contender for the role of Huffman. The actress has had some huge roles in recent years, including a short-lived role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Proxima Midnight. She is even attached to the upcoming Ghostbuster project due out in 2020.
Still, Coon could find time for the college admission bribery scandal series, especially knowing that it will be a huge spectacle that many people will turn out for.
Another spot-on suggestion in terms of looks is Vera Farmiga. The acclaimed actress has a similar look to Huffman, and could undoubtedly deliver on the role if she agreed to take it. Farmiga has three projects in the works, two of which have her back in her horror movie role as Lorraine Warren, so she might be open to a short change of pace.
A popular pick among fans is Oscar winner Hilary Swank for the role of Huffman. Swank has been busy in the world of TV recently and even has a starring role in a new series currently in pre-production. With that in mind, it seems possible that she would take on the complicated role of Huffman, hopefully bringing some nuance to a drama that will hit very close to home for those involved.
If this one sounds like a weird joke, it is. Vice columnist River Donaghey made the case for Huffman's husband, William H. Macy, to play every single role in the TV adaptation of the scandal last month, and at this point, we cannot entirely rule it out.
"Macy has been researching the role for years and he didn't even know it—he's been living with Huffman, loving Huffman, absorbing her quirks and movements and verbal patterns," Donaghey wrote. "He knows how it feels to share the same space as Huffman. And in the immortal words of seminal Russian acting coach Konstantin Stanislavski, 'to know is synonymous with to feel.'"
Of course, many fans are hoping that Loughlin and Huffman will take part in the series themselves, perhaps playing each other so as to avoid conflicts of interest. Huffman is expected to serve between four and ten months in prison for her bribe, so she could very well be out and about by the time filming on the series begins. As for Loughlin, she pleaded not guilty in the case, so her fate is up in the air.
Lastly, many fans would like to see Huffman play herself. In many ways, this would be a huge challenge for an actress, though her fans would argue that Huffman is up to the task. There is also an argument to be made for self-preservation in taking the role, as she would have that much more control over how she was portrayed on screen.
However, many more fans expect both Huffman and Loughlin to avoid the spotlight as much as possible in the years to come, and this series will doubtless be a burden to them. There is no way to know for sure.
The college admission bribery scandal TV series is currently in development at Annapurna Television.