SINGAPORE: Mediacorp on Wednesday (Dec 4) announced that it has picked up its inaugural English-language scripted series from global multiplatform entertainment company Wattpad.
The companies will develop Wattpad’s hit Slow Dancing into a six-episode series under the umbrella of Mediacorp’s ongoing Lights. Camera. Singapore. showcase of Singapore storytelling across mediums like movies, musicals and now, the written word.
The series was conceptualised by a Singapore-based 25-year-old woman who writes under her preferred pseudonym Noelle (@Hepburnettes).
The project is part of a deal to develop Wattpad works for Singapore screens, a partnership previously announced in April this year.
This alliance is aligned with Mediacorp’s mission to create compelling content by tapping talent from creative communities beyond broadcasting, and serves as a springboard to nurture next-generation storytellers.
The collaboration joins Mediacorp’s production prowess with Wattpad’s editorial expertise and data-driven approach to identifying stories for screen, said the companies in the joint media release.
Deploying data gathered by Wattpad, the companies aim to earmark exceptional entries from Singapore scribes with the potential to resonate with cosmopolitan consumers.
Slow Dancing is a bona fide global blockbuster, boasting more than 9.5 million reads to date and nearly 400,000 votes from fans all over the world, with author Noelle (@Hepburnettes) having amassed more than 243,000 followers and 45.7 million reads from her 17 story submissions on Wattpad.
Noelle, Wattpad author of Slow Dancing, said: “I’m thrilled and very privileged to be a part of this collaboration between Mediacorp and Wattpad. I hope that this new venture will give more visibility to aspiring Singaporean writers, regardless of the medium in which they write in.”
PAGE-TURNER WITH MYSTERY, SUSPENSE AND ROMANCE
Audiences can anticipate a drama series adaptation of Slow Dancing that hews true to the novel’s narrative and its universally relatable themes of love, longing and loss.
The plot centres on plucky protagonist Isla, who is smitten with billionaire Kaden after he gives a mesmerising masterclass on slow dancing at her sweet sixteenth soiree. After a car crash temporarily blinds him, Isla attends to the ailing Kaden with a dose of deception – by banking on his blindness to pose as his partner.
With production by Mediacorp Studios slated for March 2020, the series will be spearheaded by supervising executive producer Tan Wei-Lyn. Also onboard is head writer Lillian Wang.
Tan’s accolades include Best Singapore Soap/Telenovela at the Asian Academy Creative Awards for the longest-running local longform drama Tanglin in 2018 and the ongoing longform drama Kin in 2019.
Wang, who has worked on numerous television series like Tanglin and Faculty, was the Best Asian Drama recipient at the Asia Contents Awards 2019.
Wattpad’s Aron Levitz and Eric Lehrman, producers of People’s Choice-winning film After and Hulu’s Emmy-nominated hit Light as a Feather, will also produce the project.
Dexter Ong, head of Asia at Wattpad Studios said: “With a page-turning mix of mystery, suspense and romance, Slow Dancing has built an international fanbase, connecting with readers all over the world on Wattpad. We’re thrilled to work with Mediacorp to turn the story into a series that can find new fans everywhere.”
Mediacorp’s head of English audience Sapna Angural said: “This deal demonstrates Mediacorp’s dedication to the regular reinvigoration of our content, this time via the way we source for stories that speak to our shared Singapore spirit. The production of Slow Dancing with Wattpad signals the start of an exciting endeavour to equip fledgling writers with a launchpad to make their mark, at home and beyond.”
Poised to premiere in August 2020, Slow Dancing will be streamed on-demand for free on Mediacorp’s digital entertainment service Toggle, as well as made available on Mediacorp Channel 5.