Denis Villeneuve‘s Prisoners broke out big-time on the Oscar-season radar over the weekend in Telluride, where his hostage drama starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal landed a sneak peak slot in the lineup. The Friday screening connected an upper-cut blow to the fest’s audience who reacted with strong applause and critical praise. Now the pic’s financier and producer Alcon Entertainment has locked up Villeneuve with a two-year overall deal for his writing and directing services just ahead of Prisoners‘ official premiere at Toronto on Friday. The agreement calls for a blind script commitment providing the French-Canadian director the time to both write and direct a feature project, with several ideas currently being pondered. Said Alcon co-founders Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove: “Our experience with Denis has been one of the most creative and satisfying of our careers. He’s truly one of the most insightful, artistic filmmakers working today. We believe he’s directed a tremendous film with Prisoners and are excited to partner with him on more projects going forward.” Dave Fierson, Head of Business Affairs and General Counsel, negotiated the deal on behalf of Alcon.
Villeneuve’s credits include the Oscar-nominated French-language pic Incendies, and he also directed the indie feature Enemy, also starring Gyllenhaal, which too will debut at Toronto. Warner Bros releases Prisoners — co-starring Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano — in the U.S. on September 20.