EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired The Vatican, a pitch for a conspiracy-driven thriller to be scripted by David Cohen. William Brent Bell, who directed and co-wrote the weekend’s surprise hit The Devil Inside for Paramount’s Insurge release label, has made a deal to direct the film. The Vatican will be produced by Roy Lee, Lawrence Grey and John Middleton, and Bell’s producing partner Matt Peterman. Peterman wrote The Devil Inside with Bell, and produced that horror hit with Morris Paulson. Despite receiving an F from CinemaScore, the low-budget The Devil Inside grossed $34.5 million on an opening weekend that is usually dominated by holiday holdovers.
The Vatican, a sale that was conducted right before the holidays, will be fast-tracked by Warner Bros and is described as a hybrid that uses some found-footage techniques like The Devil Inside did. Cohen wrote Subject Zero, a script on last year’s Black List, and No One Lives, which is in postproduction, was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Luke Evans. Cohen is repped by ICM and Generate, and Bell is repped by CAA.