Sunday, July 18, 2010

Treadwell & a Red Machine

I remember reading that Vanity Fair article many moons ago about Timothy Treadwell aka 'The Grizzly Man'. 


At the time, I was working with David Aaron Cohen on a remake pitch for 'The Professionals' and WB.  That project never went anywhere but Treadwell stuck in my mind.  I remember even mentioning that guy's name as I sat with the producers.  They loved the concept and told me I should write it.  

Fast forward to two summers ago and I was laid up with a ruptured tibial posterior.  JAWS was on AMC and I got to thinking that they don't make films like that anymore.  Good characters, a bad situation and a force with no conscience other than feeding and survival.

Treadwell.  Again.  Life rights are a bitch, so I improvised.

RED MACHINE was born within 10 days.  104 pages of great characters and terror.  Jaws with Claws.  But these weren't your stereotypical studio cliches with hot chicks, bare midriffs and pot smoking morons running around the woods. 

No.  These characters were actually intelligent.  

I had been in touch with a talent manager and her client was considering another film I wrote about six months before I wrote Red.  They passed on that project but asked to be first eyes on my new script.  I sent Red over and within 2 days, Adrien Brody was attached to star and produce.  

Wow.  An Academy Award winning actor was set to do my film.  A few months later, the script was optioned and thus started the painful year long process of 'no one can read this script...'

It sucked.  Development stalled.  Months passed.  Nothing happened.  My option money disappeared and I was getting anxious.  Brody dropped out to shoot 'Predators' and hasn't come back yet...

June 1, 2010 the rights came back to me and my reps at APA quickly attached David Hackl to direct and now it has gone industry wide.  They're marketing it as a summer action thriller which is genius imo.  An event film.   The script got huge interest last week and APA sent it out.  

Let's see who bites.  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Creating A New Horror Icon.

Since signing with APA and the countless meetings that followed, all these remakes, reboots and re-imaginings have left a bad taste in my mouth.  Society embraces what the industry feeds it for the most part.  Ads are shoved down our throats and images bombard our every day lives down to the cup sleeves at the local coffee house that say IRON MAN 2 - May 7th.  

When I first picked up Vince Churchill's novel, The Butcher Bride, I knew there was something special within those pages.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, the novel left me spinning for days.  It scared the shit out of me.  After pushing my reps to secure an option before it went wide after publication, I dove in head first.  I had to make some minor changes to the overall story to be more cinematic and fire on more cylinders, but the deep-rooted concept remained.  

What is the core of the Butcher Bride?  

A simple story about a girl that just wanted true love and to be loved.  Marlie Downing represents an ideology that every girl dreams of at some point in their life.  The white wedding, flowers, the sweeping off her feet and the life of love until certain death that follows.  

Charles Williams wrote an incredible novel entitled All Hallows Eve that I briefly mention in the first act.  It's one of the most haunting narratives I've ever read.  T.S. Eliot wrote the forward, and everyone should know that T.S. never writes forwards.  The book itself is like Ringu and The Notebook.  It has its moments and would be near to impossible to make a film out of, but the idea is there.  This was a major influence in the emotion of Marlie Downing's character.  

The horror of Butcher Bride is inherent in the journey of Marlie Downing.  We love her.  We want her to achieve that bliss.  What happens to her is unfathomable.  As I was plowing through polishes for director David Hackl, it became apparent what this film was like...  

A modern day Psycho.  

Blasphemy most will say.  I agree.  But that's what makes this book so damned unique.   The structure does NOT follow the standard template of today's horror films.  We have a female in the lead as this lovely girl turned into a new icon of horror.  Freddy, Jason, Michael, Pinhead, Buffalo Bill, Hannibal Lector, Frankenstein, Victor Crowley, Leslie Vernon, Heidi Montag - you get the idea...

All these icons are male.  Ferocious.  We've accepted that all great horror films like that have male leads.  Let me tell you, by the time Hackl wraps on Butcher Bride, it will set a new trend within horror films.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Butcher Bride and a dip in the Hot Tub Time Machine.

The Butcher Bride is starting to generate some heat as David Hackl is now attached to direct after a couple polishes and taking the story back to its extremely dark roots.  A new horror icon shall be born in 3D.   Laugh as you may, but I have embraced the format after being wowed at How To Train Your Dragon.   It's one of the best animated films of the last several years.  

Hackl plans on shooting the Butcher Bride in 3D since he spent 6 months learning the cameras for the format.   His departure from Saw VII seems to be a blessing in disguise.   Hackl is one of the most intelligent directors I've met out here with great production experience all around.

Next step is the project goes out. 

Kudos for the last film from MGM as we know it to be the BRILLIANT film - Hot Tub Time Machine.   I snuck into a 2pm screening in Burbank yesterday and was floored to see a full theatre.  Nearly sold out.  I have NEVER EVER LAUGHED as hard as I did during that film.  It was funnier than The Hangover.  HTTM is destined to be the Caddyshack & Animal House of our generation.  

Brilliance I say.  BRILLIANCE.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Butcher Bride aka Marlie Downing: the odyssey of an adaptation

The Butcher Bride is what the title officially is now for the project circling town.  I loved the book title but was persuaded by several friends to go soft and "studio friendly" with something easier on the eyes and exec's ears.   Marlie Downing is what initially went out, then there was the title recall.    

Thank God there's a cross reference with the title of the novel.  Two specs in three months that have gone wide.  Not too bad for recently signing with an agency.  The lovely Rachel Hurd-Wood has expressed great interest as the lead.  I think she's perfect and when her new film Tomorrow, When the War Began opens up in the autumn, the 19 year old starlet will be a household name since that book series is as popular world wide as Twilight is here.   

Butcher Bride is getting some of the best horror novel reviews of recent memory.   One review said it was like Paranormal Activity but dipped in liquid cocaine.   Love that.  Especially since I'm not the biggest fan of Hollywood supernatural films, but this book, this book scared the living shit out of me.   It has what every single supernatural film has lacked since Poltergeist.

Even with all this great movement on my material, there have been stumbling blocks.  Such the case was with the management company that was co-guiding my career with my agency.  It just wasn't a good fit, we agreed to disagree and at the end of the day, we walked off towards different sunsets.  I wish them the best but understand that if those not COMPLETELY passionate about the material you produce, it's not going to work.  

All that and 50 cents still buys you a newspaper.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Butcher Bride is giving me nightmares.

She has and is.  The Butcher Bride is quite possibly the most terrifying novel of the past couple years.  I loved loved loved adapting it.  Let's hope the film turns out as creepy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Very Merry Black Christmas....

Happy Holidays.  As we ride into 2010 and cramming as many meetings into the past week before town shut down, I found myself sitting at Joel Silver's office in awe.  Yes, I am a geek.  I grew up on his films and it's sort of surreal now taking meetings like that...

Lovin' it.

APA has high hopes for Tissue to sell in the first quarter of 2010.  70 some odd companies and only 6 passes to date.  Not too bad by industry standards.

As I'm gearing up to do the annual Black Christmas screening, here's a gem of a holiday classic.  Cheers to the new year.