EXCLUSIVE: Tanya Saracho’s 2004 play off-Broadway play, Mala Hierba is coming to the big screen, and the Vida creator will be helming the feature.
In her movie directorial debut, Saracho has teamed up with Anonymous Content to adapt the Texas border town set drama. Mala Hierba the movie will be produced by the Robert Walak and Alisa Tager-run AC Studios, with Dawn Olmstead, David Levine, and Whitney Dibo overseeing the project for the Mr. Robot and True Detective outfit. Former Vida EP Stephanie Langhoff, and Christine Davila, head of development and production at Saracho’s Ojala Productions, will serve as producers on Mala Hierba.
Originally opening at Second Stage Uptown nearly 17 years ago, the play unravels the coiffured life of a Lone Star state trophy wife who begins to see the cracks in her life of wealth and privilege as her first and perhaps true love reappears. The possibility of a renewed life together for the two women forces the Liliana character to make a searing decision about what she wants and who she is. The stage production of Mala Hierba was directed by Jerry Ruiz and starred Marta Milans, Sandra Marquez, and writer and Ana Nogueira in the primary roles.
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The union with Anonymous comes just over a couple of weeks after the active Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab in conjunction with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group. Part of the acclaimed playwright and filmmaker’s 2020 inked development deal with the studio, the incubator program for Latinx voices will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and EPs, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.
Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, finished its three season stint on Starz in May 2020, Saracho decamped to Britain during the pandemic to work with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project. The prolific filmmaker is currently also sifting through several other projects in various stages of development, I hear.
In that vein, Saracho is represented by UTA, Writ Large and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.