Ellen Pompeo to Star in Hulu Limited Series Based on Orphan Natalia Grace

According to Deadline, Hulu has greenlit an eight-episode limited series based on the stranger-than-fiction story of Ukrainian-born Natalia Grace and her U.S. adoptive parents, who claimed that she was an adult “sociopath” pretending to be a child.

What’s Happening:

  • The Hulu limited series will star and be executive produced by Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy fame.
  • As she takes on this project, Pompeo will be scaling back her on-screen presence on the ABC medical drama next season to eight episodes. She will remain a narrator and executive producer on the show.
  • The shocking case, which has drawn parallels to the 2009 horror movie Orphan, made national headlines in September 2019 when Kristine Barnett and her ex-husband Michael Barnett were charged with neglect for allegedly abandoning their adopted daughter Natalia, who has a rare form of dwarfism, in 2013 when she was 9. The parents have claimed that Natalia, whom they adopted when they thought she was 6, is in fact a mentally disturbed adult woman who threatened their lives. Most of the charges against the Barnetts eventually were dismissed; Natalia has denied the accusations that she is a grownup con artist.
  • Here is the official logline: “Inspired by the true story of the Midwestern couple who adopts what they believe is a little girl with dwarfism. As they begin to raise her alongside their three biological children, they slowly start to believe she may not be who she says she is. As they question her story, they’re confronted with hard questions of their own about the lengths they’re willing to go to defend themselves, falling into a battle that’s fought in the tabloids, the courtroom, and ultimately their marriage.”
  • Pompeo will play the mother. This marks Pompeo’s first major acting role outside of the Grey’s Anatomy franchise since 2005’s Life of the Party.
  • The limited series, which has been in the works at Hulu for a year and a half, was created and written by Katie Robbins (The Affair).
  • Erin Levy will serve as showrunner on the series and executive produce alongside Robbins. Pompeo will executive produce through her production banner Calamity Jane with Laura Holstein. Mike Epps, Dan Spilo and Niles Kirchner also executive produce alongside Andrew Stearn.
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