EXCLUSIVE: Screen Gems has set Stefan Ruzowitzky to direct Patient Zero, a Mike Le-scripted thriller that puts a new spin on the genre film. In the film, an unprecedented global pandemic has resulted in the evolution of a new species. An aggressive form of rabies turns the infected into predators, addicted to violence. An inexplicably gifted human survivor with the ability to speak their new language spearheads a hunt for Patient Zero in order to find a cure to save his infected wife and humanity. Vincent Newman is producing. Production will begin in the summer. When the script was originally sold, there was a zombie element to it, but that has been completely removed in the rewrites, I’m told.
The Austrian helmer directed the 2008 Oscar-winning Best Foreign-Language Film The Counterfeiters. It was that project that caught the eye of Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper, along with his 2002 film Anatomy. The result, he hopes, will be an elevated genre film. Ruzowitzky is represented by UTA.