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Simona Brown Books Lead in Netflix's 'Matrix'-Inspired Thriller, 'Kiss Me First'
The new six-part drama, an adaptation of Lottie Moggach’s best-selling young adult novel of the same name, is set to premiere on E4 in the UK, with Netflix streaming the series globally outside the UK.

Earlier this year, Netflix inked a deal with the UK’s Channel 4 for what was described as a “Matrix”-inspired thriller titled “Kiss Me First,” written by Bryan Elsley (“Skins,” “Dates”).

The new six-part drama, an adaptation of Lottie Moggach’s best-selling young adult novel of the same name, is produced by Balloon and Kindle Entertainment, and is set to premiere on E4 in the UK, with Netflix streaming the series globally outside the UK.

The planned 6-episode hour-long series tells the story of Leila, a lonely 17 year old girl who is addicted to a fictional online gaming site called Agora. While in Agora, Leila meets Tess, a cool and confident party girl who harbors a dark secret. In the real world, the two girls become friends, but after Tess disappears, Leila decides to assume her friend’s identity, and in doing so, is quickly drawn into unraveling the mystery behind her disappearance.

The series will combine live action with computer-generated virtual world sequences to create the parallel worlds of Leila and Tess’ real life, and that of their online alter-egos ‘Shadowfax’ and ‘Mania’ in the virtual world of Agora.

Announced this morning by her reps, IAG in the UK, British actress Simona Brown has booked the role of Tess in the upcoming Netflix/E4 series.

Piers Wenger, Head of Drama at Channel 4, said; “This is a thrilling and truly ground-breaking series which takes an emotional look at the lives of a group of young gamers and the truth which exists behind their online life. We are thrilled to be welcoming Bryan Elsley back to E4 to lead a group of new writers and to helm this exciting new show.”

Larry Tanz, Vice President Global Television at Netflix, said: “Netflix is committed to bringing the work of bold and innovative voices like Bryan’s to our subscribers around the world. ‘Kiss Me First’ is a show with global themes and resonance, and we are proud to launch the show simultaneously across the entire world, exclusively on Netflix immediately after its broadcast in the UK.”

UK audiences would have recently seen Simona Brown in the ITV series “Him,” in which she played the regular role of Faith. Simona’s U.S. credits include series regular role Ros in “Guilt” (ABC), “The Night Manager” (BBC/AMC), HBO’s “Casual Vacancy” and the “Roots” reboot for the History Channel.

Ms. Brown is another black British IAG talent to book existing or upcoming high profile work that will also be seen Stateside, including, most recently Letitia Wright in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” Malachi Kirby in Netflix “Black Mirror” series, of course John Boyega in “Pacific Rim 2,” Damson Idris in John Singleton’s FX series “Snowfall,” Melanie Liburd in Netflix’s “Gypsy” and others.

“Kiss Me First” has begun production, and will premiere in 2017.

The Faithful Guardian (1911). Arthur John Elsley (British, 1861-1952). Oil on canvas.

Elsley had perfected his canine portraiture by the time he entered the studio of Fred Morgan in 1889. Here he discovered the successful formula of combining pets with children. Elsley painted the animals in conjunction with Morgan who undertook the children until 1900 when Elsley started to execute works on a grander scale successfully by himself.

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“I’m Mars, you’re Venus. I do things, you worry about them. I sleep with girls, you persuade them to attempt suicide.”

Skins (2007)
Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain