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Showtime has snagged a drama pilot from Susannah Grant that centers on a survivor of sex trafficking

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.

Bender is one of the nation’s top experts on sex trafficking and a leading consultant for federal law enforcement on how to spot it, prosecute it and protect the victims in its web. The series will go back to when Bender herself escaped from the world of sex trafficking after six years, reflecting on her struggles to return to a “normal” life, and her emergence as a confident, funny and impassioned advocate for justice.

Grant (Erin Brockovich, Netflix’s Unbelievable) will write and direct Coercion, which is inspired by the life of Rebecca Bender, a sex trafficking survivor who now advocates for victims and consults with law enforcement. Sydney Chandler (FX’s upcoming Pistol) is set to play the lead role in the drama from producer Wiip.


Amy Israel, executive VP of scripted programming at Showtime Networks, said: “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. 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.”

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.

The project reunites producer Lyon with Grant, with whom she collaborated on Erin Brockovich, and with Chandler, who just wrapped production starring in the new Danny Boyle limited series Pistol, of which Lyon is also an executive producer. Chandler will next be seen making her feature debut in Olivia Wilde’s new film, Don’t Worry Darling, opposite Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine and Wilde. Chandler, daughter of Emmy-winning actor Kyle Chandler, is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

Grant also has FX on Hulu’s limited series Fleishman Is in Trouble in the works, while Chandler has Olivia Wilde’s feature Don’t Worry Darling on deck.

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