Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Charles Melton (Riverdale) and Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley) have signed on to star in Netflix’s romantic comedy Love Hard, Collider has confirmed.
Described as a cross between When Harry Met Sally and Roxanne, the story follows an LA girl (Dobrev) who falls for an East Coast guy (Melton) on a dating app and decides to surprise him for Christmas, only to discover that she’s been catfished. But the object of her affection actually lives in the same town, and the guy who duped her (Yang) offers to set them up, but only if she pretends to be his own girlfriend for the holidays.
Deadline reports that Hernán Jiménez (Elsewhere) will direct from a script by Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, while McG and Mary Viola will produce via their Wonderland banner. Steve Bello will serve as an executive producer. Netflix preemptively acquired Mackey and Ewing’s spec script last August, and one year later, the project is moving forward with new momentum.
The promise is a bit problematic — guy blackmails girl into a fake relationship, awww! — but I do like this cast configuration, as Melton is a rising star, and Yang is funny as hell, not to mention an underrated dramatic actor. However, this project’s secret weapon may be Ewing, who is one of the funniest writers I’ve met during my 14 years in Los Angeles. If she can mine some of her killer dating stories for laughs, Netflix may find itself with a surprise hit on its hands.
Dobrev is the former Vampire Diaries star who was most starred opposite Ben Platt and Mena Massoud in the indie Run This Town, while Melton recently co-starred in Bad Boys for Life and will return for the fifth season of Riverdale.
Yang, who is perhaps best known for playing Jian-Yang on HBO’s Silicon Valley, can currently be seen on the Netflix series Space Force, and his very funny comedy special Good Deal is available on Amazon. Yang appeared on the big screen earlier this year in Paramount’s Like a Boss and Sony’s Fantasy Island, and his prior feature credits include Crazy Rich Asians and a heroic turn in Patriots Day.