EXCLUSIVE: Akiva Goldsman is stepping behind the camera again, this time to bring a horror film to the big screen with Stephanie — a story about a little girl with unworldly abilities who was abandoned before a man and a woman show up claiming to be her parents, thereby interrupting her mysterious world. A fall start is being eyed.
Goldsman, of course, is the Academy Award-winning screenwriter behind A Beautiful Mind and one of the many producers on Lone Survivor which Universal released last Christmas to critical and commercial acclaim. He also co-scripted Insurgent and Allegiant: Part 1, the next two pictures in the Divergent trilogy series for Lionsgate. He also exec produced Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4 with Blumhouse, which is one of the producers of this film. Horror fare can be extraordinarily profitable at the box office because their budgets are usually lower and the genre itself tends to have rabid fans.
Along with Blumhouse, Unbroken and The Gotham Group are producing Stephanie. Jason Blum has a deal with Universal so the pic may go through there. The film was written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, whose script for this film a couple of years ago was noted as one of the best in The Blood List, which (in the vein of the Black List) names the best yet-unproduced scripts in the horror genre. The writers are relative newcomers currently making a bit of a splash having just scripted a film for director Luc Besson based on one of his original ideas (Underground for Besson’s EuropaCorp.)
Also producing is Matt Kaplan through Chapter One (both he and Blum are repped by CAA); Adrienne Biddle is producing and Bryan Bertino is exec producing for Unbroken (repped by UTA); and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein is producing and Eric Robinson and Nate Matteson are exec producers for The Gotham Group (repped by CAA). The film reunites the filmmaking team behind Mockingbird, which Bertino wrote and directed for Blumhouse and Biddle produced in 2012. The Gotham Group knew Bertino from when he directed The Strangers in 2008.
Goldsman last directed Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s A Winter’s Tale which did tepid business this past February despite its high-profile cast and a pretty decent marketing campaign (and a B CinemaScore). Previously, Jonathan Van Tulleken (Off Season) had been attached to direct Stephanie.
Goldsman is repped by WME, Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush & Kaller; Collins and Piotrowski are repped by UTA, The Gotham Group and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.