EXCLUSIVE: Mark Heyman has been set by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush to adapt the international bestseller novel Syndrome E. Heyman’s recent script work includes the Darren Aronofsky-directed Black Swan. Originally published in France, the Franck Thilliez novel, the first in a series, was published stateside by Viking last summer. Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian & Garrett Basch are producing with Steven Rales & Mark Roybal.
The protagonist is a beleaguered detective named Lucie Hennebelle, who discovers that her 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.
Heyman started his career as Aronofsky’s assistant, and his upcoming work includes The Skeleton Twins and Machine Man. He’s repped by CAA and Management 360.