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Script Pipeline

September 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

September was a lighter month for script sales, but here’s a bunch of notables:

– Halle Berry will direct and star in Bruised, written by Michelle Rosenfarb, about a disgraced female MMA fighter. Thunder Road Pictures and Entertainment 360 are producing.

Playing House stars/creators Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham sold an untitled comedy pitch to Universal. Gina Rdoriguez is attached to star. That’s all we know about it, but St. Clair and Parham are amazing so of course we had to mention it.

– Sony picked up Simon Rich’s (Man Seeking Woman) Sell Out. The story, based on Rich’s New Yorker novella, is a a Rip van Winkle-style comedy in which immigrant falls in a vat of pickles in 1918 and is perfectly preserved in the brine for a hundred years. Seth Rogen is set to produce and star.

– Blackmaled Productions has picked up Real Talk, written by Radha Blank and based on an idea by Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip, Undercover Brother). The comedy follows an old-school rapper who attempts to bring his group back together. Lee will produce and direct.

– Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger are set to adapt Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Female Persuasion for Amazon. Nicole Kidman is set to produce.

– Mel Gibson and Bryan Bagby will write (and Gibson will direct) an adaption of Sam Peckinpah’s Wild Bunch for Warner Bros. This writer will leave it at that, but I definitely have things to say about this.

– Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux will adapt Grant Ginder’s amazingly tilted The People We Hate At The Wedding for FilmNation Entertainment and Michael De Luca Productions.

– Platinum Dunes and Paramount picked up Holly Brix’s dark comedy Happy Anniversary. The story follows an anniversary gone awry when the happy couple undergoes a home invasion.

– Atomic Monster, Vertigo Entertainment, Good Fear Film + Management, and New Line have teamed for Milk, based on the short film by Santiago Menghini. Saw and The Conjuring’s James Wan will produce, and Menghini will direct. Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (Super Dark Times) will write.

– Justin Benson’s sci-fi/thriller script Synchronic is moving forward at Rustic Films. Benson will produce and direct with Aaron Moorhead, and Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan are in talks to star.

– Rian Johnson is teaming with Daniel Craig for Knives Out. Johnson is writing and directing, Craig is starring, and the movie is a detective mystery.

Script Pipeline Contest Winner “Standoff” Premieres at TIFF, Releases January 2019

By | Slider, Success Stories

Henry Dunham’s The Standoff at Sparrow Creek releases January 2019, featuring the ensemble cast of James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Chris Mulkey (Whiplash), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk producing. Dunham makes his feature directorial debut.

The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It made its West Coast premiere at Beyond Fest in Hollywood on October 3rd, 2018.

It’s due for a January 2019 release.

“Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything.”
– Henry Dunham (writer/director, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek)

Formerly titled Militia, the script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors. Both CEO Chad Clough and Senior Executive Matt Joseph Misetich pegged the screenplay as a fresh, relevant spin on the genre, and an “unquestionably strong calling card” for the up-and-coming Dunham.

“This film is nothing sort of a bold directorial debut,” said Misetich. “Has cult classic all over it. Meticulously designed scenes and a cast that’s nothing short of award-worthy. A real stunner–and one that we think changed very little from the draft that originally grabbed our attention.”

Henry was interviewed by Creative Screenwriting prior to the film’s debut at TIFF. Standoff has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Slash Film, Birth.Movies.Death, and other top critics.

Read Henry’s Script Pipeline interview

Submit to the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition


August 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

Hollywood is starting to feel the affects of Crazy Rich Asians’ amazing box-office performance, and several projects with Asian-American or Polynesian leads were picked up in the second half of August. (It’s long overdue, but hey, we’ll take it.) Seven Bucks Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, ImageMovers are teaming to produce The King, with New Line Cinema distributing. Written by Randall Wallace, the spec is a biopic of King Kamehameha, who was the first to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Dwayne Johnson is set to star, Robert Zemeckis to direct, and both will produce. New Line also picked up Singles Day, a romantic comedy spec written by Lillian Yu. The plot is mostly under wraps, but it’s based on a Chinese holiday described as the anti–Valentine’s Day in which singles celebrate being unattached. And finally, Elyse Hollander’s untitled music spec found a home at Fox 2000. The story follows an Asian American college student who becomes a top competitor on a South Korean k-pop competition show.

Other script sales:

– And of course, Crazy Rich Asians is getting its sequel. Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim are returning to adapt Kevin Kwan’s novel, and Jon M. Chu is returning to direct. (And you’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians, right? If not, you should really get on that.)

– Jon Silberman and Josh Silberman have been tapped to write Coyote Vs. Acme for Warner Bros. Animation. It will be centered on the perpetually ill-fated Wile E. Coyote. Chris McKay (The LEGO Movie) will produce.

– Natalie Portman is set to star in and direct an untitled script written by Katie Robbins. The true story follows dueling sisters Esther Friedman and Pauline Friedman, who are perhaps best known as Ann Landers and Dear Abby.

– Elevation Pictures picked up the horror script Random Acts of Violence, adapted by Jay Baruchel and Jesse Chabot from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s graphic novel. Baruchel is set to direct.

– Central Films and Ross Katz Productions are teaming up for writer-director Oliver Stone’s drama White Lies. Benicio del Toro will star.

– Oren Uziel will script Supergirl for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.

The Sinner – Pilot

By | Essential Reading - Screenplays and Pilots

Within the first 15 minutes of The Sinner, you know who the killer is. There’s no doubt about it—you see it happen, and dozens of witnesses see it too. Although a mystery, The Sinner isn’t as interested in the whodunnit, but the whydunnit. And centering the series on that aspect helps make The Sinner a taut, suspenseful, unpredictable thriller.

Written and developed by Derek R. Simonds and based on the novel by Petra Hammesfahr, the story opens with Cora (a spellbinding Jessica Biel in a powerhouse performance that’s currently up for an Emmy) going through a typical day. We get a subtle sense that she’s unhappy, troubled in some way, and our suspicions are confirmed almost immediately when she stabs a stranger on a crowded beach in broad daylight. From there, the question becomes why she did it, and detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is the man pursuing it. Flashbacks and interviews slowly piece together some of the details.

The most important part of any mystery is, obviously, the mystery. That’s why we’re here in the first place, right? It’s a simple statement, but in practice it’s much harder to pull off. The audience needs to care about the mystery, and if the audience doesn’t care, it’s like that proverbial tree in a forest: If no one wants to know the answer, does the story make an impact? Fortunately, Simonds and Hammesfahr have crafted a gripping thriller with many of the genre’s requisite twists and turns, but the answers to the central mystery are centered in Cora. Without spoiling too much (in general, viewers are too sensitive and tend to be spoiler-averse to a fault, but spoiling plot points in a mystery is simply sociopathic), Cora quickly proves herself to be more victim than sinner, and the story becomes as much a psychological character study as it does a mystery.

Originally set up at USA (the channel) as a limited series, the first season proved to be a success, and the show was quickly picked up for a second, with Pullman’s detective returning to investigate another murderer. Both seasons are worth checking out, especially for any writers interested in how to create—and sustain—compelling mysteries.  This is simply one of the best shows on television right now.

Read The Sinner Pilot

July 2018 Script Sales

By | Script Sales

July was a slower month for script sales. David M. Crabtree’s script Plane has found a home at Mandalay Pictures. The thriller follows a traveling salesman who is trapped alone in a small airborne plane after the pilot dies. John Moore (Behind Enemy LinesA Good Day to Die Hard) is set to direct. Twentieth Century Fox is moving forward with the comedy Stoned Alone, an adult version of Home Alone that follows a stoner who misses his flight and must deal with thieves inside his home. Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider are on the script, based off an idea from Fox’s Matt Reilly. Ryan Reynolds will produce, and Augustine Frizzell will direct. Screen Gems and Brownstone Productions have picked up Savion Einstein’s comedy Superfecundation, which is a rare situation that occurs when twins have two different fathers. Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman will produce. Makeready, Hillman Grad Productions, and De La Revolución Films will produce Lena Waithe’s crime thriller Queen & Slim. Based on an idea by James Frey, with a story by Waithe, Andrew Coles, Michelle Knudsen and Frey, the story follows a black couple on a first date who kill a police officer in self-defense and have to flee to Cuba. Melina Matsoukas will direct, and Daniel Kaluuya will star.

Other script sales:

– Erin Cressida Wilson has been tapped to write the Indecent Proposal adaptation/remake for Paramount. The 1993 film was written by Amy Holden Jones and based on the novel by Jack Engelhard.

– Patrick Ness will write a Rumpelstiltskin movie for Sony. Peter Dinklage is set to star and produce.

– Disney has picked up Ola Shokunbi and Lindsey Reed Palmer’s pitch Sadé. The film will follow a young African girl named Sadé who accepts her newly discovered magical warrior powers to protect herself and her people, and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) will produce.

– Liz Hannah and Jennifer Niven are adapting Niven’s YA novel All the Bright Places for The Mazur/Kaplan Company and Echo Lake Productions. Brett Haley will direct, and Justice Smith and Elle Fanning are set to star.

– Michael Younesi to write/direct the family adventure MakerForce 5 for Studio71.  The story follows five kids who band together to fight off a mysterious invasion that happens after all of their town’s parents suddenly disappear.

–  Focus Features and Carnival Films & Television are teaming for the Downton Abbey movie, to be written by series creator Julian Fellows and directed by Brian Percival.