By Maureen Lee Lenker
May 16, 2019 at 08:03 PM EDT
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; David Livingston/Getty Images

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People) are about to be in a love-hate relationship.

The two TV stars are officially attached to star in the feature film adaptation of The Hating Gamethe best-selling rom-com by Sally Thorne.

Hale will play Lucy Hutton, a vintage-dress-obsessed, eternally sunny young woman who absolutely cannot stand her work nemesis, the cold, hyper-efficient Josh Templeton (Amell). The two engage in a battle of wills, constantly trying to one-up each other as the assistants to the two co-heads of the company where they work. But things get complicated when Lucy finds herself unexpectedly attracted to the last man on earth she ever thought she could like.

The film is based on Sally Thorne’s 2016 best-selling novel of the same name. It was Thorne’s debut novel, and it launched her on to the literary scene and to stratospheric heights. Her second novel, 99 Percent Mine, hit shelves earlier this year, and EW said of Thorne, “[She] is an immensely gifted author, who pens banter and crackling chemistry with the aplomb of a 1940s screwball comedy.”

In 2018, when The Hating Game was still just in development, Thorne spoke to the rise of romance novel adaptations in Hollywood, telling EW, “This is an exciting time for Hollywood to find and snap up great stories and new voices, particularly by female writers. The romance community is brimming [with] creative geniuses, skilled at making readers laugh and blush.”

Thorne also told EW how much 1990s rom-coms inspired the novel and her writing, including a corporate team-building scene directly influenced by 10 Things I Hate About You. “It was an amazing time in cinema. It showed me smart, strong women who had big goals in life,” she said. “The fact that they were falling in love with the man of their dreams impacted on these goals in so many fun ways. The dialogue is quotable and smart. The endings are chocolate-box perfection. It’s good, old fashioned storytelling.”

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She also admitted the book was inherently cinematic, saying, “My top comment from readers is: this book would be a great movie. I was a film major at university, so I suppose that has influenced my writing style. A large chunk of the book is set in one room with two desks facing each other. It’s almost like a theatre play. Picture two people sitting in a spotlight, desperately hiding their attraction with wisecracks and mutual dislike, and all the while a promotion dangles overhead like a brass ring. These two will climb all over each other to get it.”

The script is by Christina Mengert (Peace, Love & Misunderstanding), but Thorne’s input was invited and she said of the screenplay, “I can emphatically say it is adorable.”

Peter Hutchings (Then Came You) is now attached to direct, replacing previously attached helmer David Mirkin. Claude Dal Farra, Brice Dal Farra, and Brian Keady of BCDF Pictures are producing, and Hutchings has previously collaborated with them on several book adaptations as a screenwriter. London-based Mister Smith Entertainment is also attached as co-financier.

Further information, including when the project might go before the camera and its release date, is still to come.

Deadline first reported the news here.

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