EXCLUSIVE: Echo Lake Entertainment and Sean Sorensen’s Royal Viking Entertainment have teamed on Sorensen’s spec script We Interrupt This Program. While President Trump has turned “fake news” into a common term, the makers of this one believe they have a film focusing in the birth of pseudo news, and the panic it caused. The script explores the chaos of creative genius that resulted in the infamous radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, narrated and directed by Orson Welles before he made his directing debut on Citizen Kane. Beyond the national panic caused when the CBS broadcast vividly described invading Martian armies — mostly through news bulletins that interrupted programming, without informing listeners it was entertainment — the film will chronicle the stormy struggle taking place behind the scenes between Welles and his producer, John Houseman, as they pulled off what would become the most influential radio broadcast in history.
Echo Lake’s Doug Mankoff and Andy Spaulding are producing with Sorensen. As a producer, Sorensen and Royal Viking most recently sold the Pete Dowling spec script Exposure to Screen Gems. Echo Lake controls the rights to the original War of the Worlds radio play by Howard Koch based on the H.G. Wells novel, and the company will finance the film for a 2018 shoot with FilmNation International handling offshore sales. They will go out to directors immediately.
Echo Lake produced the Cate Blanchett-Robert Redford starrer Truth and the Alexander Payne-directed Nebraska., and its first TV series Van Helsing starts its second season on SyFy October 5.
While Sorensen is primarily a producer, We Interrupt This Program is his third script sale as a writer. He’s repped by ROAR’s Jon Levin.