After a marathon negotiation session that ended this morning, IFC acquired screen rights to The Killer Inside Me, the Michael Winterbottom-directed adaptation of Jim Thompson’s best known work, the 1952 pulp fiction novel. Wild Bunch’s Carole Baraton and WME Global head Graham Taylor closed a deal worth between $1 million and $2 million for U.S. rights only and a late summer/early fall release. WME had its 3rd big deal in 3 days, after Wednesday’s sale of Hesher, Thursday’s deal for Blue Valentine, andthis morning’s The Killer Inside Me deal.
The pic was scripted by John Curran, and produced by Chris Hanley, Bradford L. Schei and Andrew Eaton. It stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. The Killer Inside Me was one of the most polarizing films of the festival, which is just how the noir novel was written. Buyers who caught its first screening were buzzing about how Winterbottom was confronted by angry women upset by a scene in which Affleck’s psychotic deputy sheriff character Lou Ford brutally pummels the face of a prostitute played by Alba. (Insiders tell me those reports thaat Alba walked out of the screening are bullshit. She had a pror commitment.) However, by being provocative and controversial, the pic also was able to distinguish itself in the crowded indie film marketplace. Buyers and reviewers I spoke with hailed the performances by Affleck — one of the most underrated young leading men working today — as well as Alba and Hudson.
Meanwhile, CAA is putting the finishing touches on a complex deal for Splice that includes a big P&A commitment from an independent financier, with Sony Worldwide Acquisitions at the center, and distributors Apparition or Newmarket likely to release it.