By Amanda N’Duka
Treehouse Pictures has set in motion what it’s describing as a diverse remake of 1991 coming-of-age comedy, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, which is being written by Chuck Hayward with Bille Woodruff attached to direct. Hayward’s take is a present-day retelling centered on a black family.
Treehouse’s Justin Nappi and Juliet Berman are producing along with Oren Segal. Executive producers are Michael Phillips — also an EP on the original — Juliana Maio and Tova Laiter.
The 1991 film, which was directed by Stephen Herek, starred Christina Applegate, Joanna Cassidy and Josh Charles. It follows Sue Ellen Crandell, a teenager who is forced to take charge of her four younger siblings when their mom leaves town and the wicked babysitter her mother hired suddenly dies. Despite the fact that the film wasn’t a huge success critically or commercially, it amassed a significant cult following.
“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is an iconic cult classic,” said Treehouse president Nappi. “We look forward to bringing audiences a new interpretation that is as funny and outrageous as the original but also smart and connected to the world today.”
Said Phillips, “I’m amazed at how many people can quote dialogue from the original film, and I think this team has a fresh and modern approach to the story that will resonate in a brand-new way.”
Woodruff is directing Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha — which recently was pushed to the fall — and has directed episodes of Star, Claws and Black Lightning. He’s the director behind such films as Beauty Shop, The Perfect Match and Honey. Chuck penned the Netflix film Step Sisters and also served as a supervising producer on ABC’s Mixed-ish, which was just renewed for Season 2, and previously worked on Dear White People.
Woodruff is repped by APA, manager Adena Chawke, and Lichter Grossman Nichols, while Hayward’s reps are APA, Heroes and Villains Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.
Treehouse’s film canon includes That Awkward Moment, starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan; Sand Castle with Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill; and Set It Up, starring Zoey Deutch and Lucy Liu.