Everything You Need To Know About The ‘Uglies’ Movie Adaptation

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The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner trilogies may be the reigning book-to-film dystopian franchises, but Scott Westerfeld’s New York Times bestselling series The Uglies is about to have its own moment in the cinematic spotlight with its upcoming Netflix release. 

Since its release in 2006, Westerfeld has written four more installments, including Pretties, Specials, and Extras. In 2018, a spinoff series was announced, Impostors, and now includes four installments. 

What is the premise of Uglies?

In a world where young adults transition into adulthood by getting a cosmetic procedure that makes them beautiful, one young girl begins questioning the system after an incident, forcing her to open her eyes to the rampant corruption plaguing the world of the pretties. 

At fifteen, Tally Youngblood has one thing on her mind: the operation that will turn her into a mesmerizingly beautiful pretty. As a Pretty, she will say goodbye to her life as an Ugly and step into the dazzling world of the Pretties, a society filled with glamorous parties and stunning people. 

However, a friendship with Shay irrevocably changes her path. Despite Shay’s vehement disagreement with the practice and her eventual decision to run away, Tally has no plans to remain Ugly. 

However, on the day of her procedure, she is given an ultimatum: Find Shay or remain Ugly forever.    

Who is producing the Uglies movie?

Kissing Booth star Joey King will act and executive produce with her new production company, All The King’s Horses. According to Deadline, it was King’s advocacy for the series that convinced Netflix to adapt it into a movie.


In an interview with Collider, King explained, “I’ve been trying to get this movie made for years, too. I’m obsessed. I was trying to obtain the book rights for so long and they were just always not available, so then I got ‘em! I got ‘em and then I said, ‘Hey Netflix, do you want to make this with me?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah!’ [Laughs] And it took a very long time to get that off the ground and I’m really lucky.”

Executive producers working alongside King are John Fox, Jenny Hinkey, Jamie King, and Scott Westerfeld, while John Davis, Jordan Davis, McG, Robyn Meisinger, Dan Spilo, and Mary Viola will serve as producers.

Award-winning director and producer McG, best known for Charlie’s Angels (2000), Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009), and The Babysitter (2015), signed on as the director of the project. 

Emmy-nominated screenwriter and Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff penned the script alongside Whit Anderson (Ocean’s Eight and Daredevil), Jacob Forman (The Last Survivors), and Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water and Divergent).

Who is in the cast of Uglies?

Joey King will bring Tally Youngblood to life in the movie adaptation of Uglies. At nine, King landed her first lead role as Ramona in Ramona and Beezus (2010) and went on to star in Bullet Train (2022), The Act (2019), The Conjuring (2013), and the popular Netflix film The Kissing Booth (2018). 

While on the red carpet for the premiere of Bullet Train, Deadline asked King about Uglies, and she stated, “It was very exciting for me. The Uglies books meant a lot to me as a kid. Being able to make that and be the lead of those movies and also have so much fun while doing it–what a dream realized! I was 11 years old when I fell in love with the books.”

Starring alongside King is Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox, Outer Banks star Chase Stokes, and I Know What You Did Last Summer actor Brianne Tju. 

The cast will also include Jan Luis Castellanos, Jessica Craig, Kelly Gale, Gabriella Garcia, Alex D. Jennings, Dutch Johnson, Jay DeVon Johnson, Moose Ali Khan, Charmin Lee, Kevin Miles, Jillian Murray, Keith Powers, Jordan Sherley, and Robert Palmer Watkins.

When is the release date of Uglies

If you are antsy for more details on the release date, you will be happy to know that Uglies will premiere on Netflix in 2023. 

In an Instagram post from December of 2021, King explained how filming wrapped and said, “Can’t believe I spent the last several months playing a character I’ve dreamt about for 10 years. See you in Uglyville folks.” 

The project is now in post-production.

Is there a trailer for the Uglies movie?

There is no trailer for the movie yet. 

What other adaptations can you expect in the upcoming year?

In addition to the Uglies movie, there are more book adaptations to look forward to in 2023: A Court of Thorns and RosesDaisy Jones and the SixIt Ends with UsRed, White, and Royal BlueThe Idea of YouThe Inheritance Games, The Selection, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.