EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush are closing a deal to acquire the rights to the international bestselling novel Syndrome E. Originally published in France, the Franck Thilliez novel is the first in a series, and it will be released in the U.S. by Viking this summer. The publisher bought U.S. rights at Frankfurt, and it’s the first book by the author to be translated into English.
The protagonist is a beleaguered detective named Lucie Hennebelle, who discovers that his friend comes down with a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare and spectacularly violent film from the 1950s. The cop discovers that the film has been embedded with subliminal images that those who come in contact with it end up dead. The detective teams with a Paris cop who has been trying to figure out the film’s connection to five men murdered and left in the woods. Together they get to the bottom of what has to be the most disturbing and powerful film ever made. It has global and scientific implications, and its maker might well be the personification of evil and the origins of violence. The novel has been compared to Se7en and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. ICM made the deal.
Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian & Garrett Basch are producing with Steven Rales & Mark Roybal. High-end writers and filmmakers are beginning to circle the project. It’s the second project that Film Rites is producing for Paramount and Indian Paintbrush. They have Chris Terrio (who scripted the Ben Affleck-directed Argo) writing A Murder Foretold, a fact-based drama based on the David Grann article in The New Yorker about a series of high-level assassinations in Guatemala, and one in particular, a wealthy businessman who’d recently watch his wife get gunned down. That particular killing reverberated all the way to the top of the government and created a national outcry to root out government corruption.