Netflix, Apple, and MGM entered a fierce bidding war for the film, with Netflix coming out on top, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film is an adaptation of a forthcoming novel by Rumaan Alam, with Sam Esmail, who created Mr. Robot and the Roberts-starring Homecoming, slated to write and direct.
HarperCollins imprint Ecco will publish the novel in the fall. The story follows a husband and wife who rent a home on Long Island for a vacation with their teenage kids. Their family time is cut short when the home’s owners return after an unforeseen blackout hits New York City. When no internet, television, radio, and cell phone service—and with no idea what’s going on in the world—the two families are forced into a strained living situation. The film also confronts issues of race and class, pitting the wealthy white renters against the wealthy Black owners. Roberts plays the mother of the family who is renting and Washington plays the homeowner.
Esmail pitched the idea to Roberts after the pair worked on Amazon’s Homecoming; Roberts then sent the book to Washington. Deadline reports that the two actors have been wanting to work together again. Roberts and Washington are both set to produce. Netflix ultimately bagged the film for over $100 million.