EXCLUSIVE: While movie business transactions have been sluggish since Thanksgiving, it looks like there will be a last rush of deal-making before the holidays set in. The hot package that has buyers salivating right this moment: Several distributors are engaged on Adrift, a drama spec by Aaron & Jordan Kandell that has Snowden‘s Shailene Woodley attached to star with Baltasar Kormakur looking to make it his next directorial outing next spring. Producers had been vying to be attached, but the decision was made to land with a financier/distributor first and worry about the other stuff after.
This is a survival tale — Gravity set on the high seas — and is based on a true story. When Tami Oldham and her fiancé, Richard Sharp, set sail from Tahiti under brilliant blue skies, their future together looked just as bright. Young and in love, both expert sailors who planned to sail the world together. But in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 1,500 miles from the nearest land, they sailed directly into a monumental hurricane. Strapped in the cabin, Tami was knocked unconscious. When she awoke, she found the boat in ruins, the masts missing and the engine, navigational instruments and radio broken. And both the life raft, and her fiancé, gone. With a major head wound, little food or water and a broken boat, Tami found a way to survive an impossible 41-day journey, navigating herself 1,500 miles to safety on the Hawaiian shores.
It has been pitched as an epic, romantic, uplifting account of how one woman’s great love helped her survive long odds, an inspiring reminder that even in our darkest moments, we are never alone. Kormakur shoots well in outdoor venues, as evidenced by Everest and The Deep, the 2012 drama about a fisherman who swam a long way home after his boat capsized in the frozen waters off the south coast of Iceland.
I bet this one will have a deal navigated by week’s end. Kormakur and the scribes are with WME, which has been leading the charge on the auction along with the writers’ Hopscotch Pictures manager Sukee Chew. Woodley is repped by UTA and Principato-Young.