Anna Kendrick will sit in the director’s chair for the first time for The dating game.
Kendrick, 37, is set to direct, produce and star in the upcoming thriller based on a true story, from a Blacklist script by Ian MacAllister McDonald, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE. Principal photography is scheduled to begin late next month.
The release describes The dating game as “the stranger-than-fiction true story of Cheryl Bradshaw, who was a bachelorette on the hit ’70s matchmaking TV show The dating game and chose the handsome and funny number one bachelor, Rodney Alcala.”
“But behind Alcalá’s charming facade was a deadly secret: he was a psychopathic serial killer,” the synopsis adds.
Kendrick makes her feature directorial debut with the “edge-of-your-seat thriller” and will also play Cheryl, “the young woman whose life hung in the balance when her fairytale date took a dark and twisted turn,” says the release.
Never miss a story: Sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Kendrick says in the statement that she “loved this script from the moment I read it,” adding, “And while I was obviously excited to play the character of Cheryl, I felt so connected to the story, the tone and the themes. around gender and intimacy, that when the opportunity to direct the film presented itself, I jumped at it.”
Alcalá’s reign of terror spanned more than a decade. He took advantage of young women, enticing some of them by telling them that he was a professional photographer who wanted to submit photos of him in a photo contest. After killing them, Alcalá placed their bodies in grotesque poses, sometimes photographing them.
The serial killer and rapist was sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, as well as the rapes and murders of Georgia Wixted, Jill Parenteau, Charlotte Lamb and Jim Barcomb in the 1970s. Alcalá died. due to natural causes in July 2021.
RELATED VIDEO: Anna Kendrick Reveals Her Ideal Superpower and More as She Answers (Adorable!) Kids’ Questions
Kendrick tells PEOPLE she has “been attached to [the] script” for The dating game “as an actress and producer for more than two years”, when she was presented with the opportunity to direct as well.
“It was one of those moments where you’re like… it’s so perfect and so meant to be,” he continues. “I pushed myself off the cliff of throwing myself into directing it.”
According to the a simple favor star, “everyone has been so supportive” of her new adventure, which she is “beyond excited and terrified of,” amid “all the great feelings” surrounding her.
“But it’s a dream,” Kendrick says, joking, “Right now, my house has become a kind of beautiful mind-collage style sticky notes and inspirations and photographs and stuff. It seems like I’m trying to solve my daughter being kidnapped or something.”
“But yeah, I’m really excited, because it’s a very performance-focused script,” she adds. “And I love watching good actors perform, so I can’t wait to start.”