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Amazon’s ‘Cruel Intentions’ Series Is Back in Business

Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Reese Witherspoon in 'Cruel Intentions'

Cruel Intentions, one of the last gasps of the ’90s erotic thriller, is coming back as a TV series. Nearly 15 years after the original film hit theaters, Cruel Intentions is officially in development at Amazon’s Prime Video with a plotline that sounds appropriately ridiculous.

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Not to be confused with NBC’s unaired 2016 pilot for a Cruel Intentions sequel series (which had Sarah Michelle Gellar reprising her role from the film), the new Cruel Intentions series is an update on the 1999 movie, itself loosely based on the 18th century novel Dangerous Liaisons. And how are co-writers and executive producers Sara Goodman and Phoebe Fisher updating this story about a pair of gratuitously horny step-siblings scheming their way through high school? By moving the horny step-siblings to college, of course.

Per Variety, “The series is said to take place at an elite Washington, D.C. college, ‘where two ruthless step-siblings will do anything to stay on top of the cutthroat social hierarchy,’ per the official description. ‘After a brutal hazing incident threatens the entire Panhellenic system at their school, they’ll do whatever is necessary to preserve their power and reputation, even if that means seducing the daughter of the vice president of the United States.” (Emphasis mine because !!!!)

Released in 1999, Cruel Intentions was written and directed by Roger Kumble and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe as Kathryn and Sebastian, wealthy teen step-siblings who make a sport of their promiscuous sex lives and whose pastimes include senselessly manipulating other teens and garden variety sexual deviancy. When Annette (Reese Witherspoon), the daughter of their school’s headmaster, writes an essay for Seventeen about why she’s abstaining from sex until marriage, Kathryn makes a wager with Sebastian: if he successfully has sex with Annette, Kathryn will have sex with Sebastian—who, as a reminder, is her stepbrother.

Cruel Intentions has been in development at Amazon since 2021, when it was initially eyed for Freevee. The series is set to star Sarah Catherine Hook, Zac Burgess, Savannah Lee Smith, Sara Silva, Khobe Clarke, John Harlan Kim, Brooke Lena Johnson, and Sean Patrick Thomas. Recurring stars include Claire Forlani, Nikki Crawford, Isabella Tagliati, Zeke Goodman, and Jon Tenney.

It’s unclear if Thomas is reprising his role from the 1999 film, in which he played Ronald, Cecile (Selma Blair)’s music teacher and love interest. I’m also intrigued by the casting of Forlani, a ‘90s fave whose credits include Mallrats, Meet Joe Black, and Mystery Men, and whose recent career mostly consists of ads for Dewar’s Scotch whisky.

With a full cast in tow and a greenlight from Amazon, it sounds like Cruel Intentions could very well hit Prime Video by late 2024.

(featured image: Columbia Pictures)

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Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.

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