EXCLUSIVE: UK production company Ugly Duckling Films, whose features include 2013 sci-fi Coherence and Lena Headey-starrer The Broken, is in development on its first TV project: crime series We Are Your Children based on San Francisco’s ‘Doodler’ serial killer.
The series, about the 1970’s killer who targeted San Francisco’s gay community, is being scripted by emerging Brit writer Ryan Brown. The murderer became known as the ‘Doodler’ from the elaborate drawings of his victims that he’d leave behind at the scenes of his crimes. At the time, two of his victims survived and identified a man, but refused to testify in court and the man was never charged.
Inspired by these events, the series will see a female cop unite with a gay rights activist and drag queen after the targeted homosexual killings disrupts the city. Ingenious Media arranged early development funding on the project.
Until recently, many were unaware of the ‘Doodler’, but two weeks ago the San Francisco Police Department released a sketch (pictured) of what the ‘Doodler’ may look like today, and have offered a $100,000 reward for details that will lead to his capture. The investigation is one of several cold cases that are now being re-looked at following the capture of the Golden State killer last year.
Brown’s original pilot won the 2016 BAFTA Rocliffe Award and was on the UK’s 2017 Brit List. Brown was a finalist for Idris Elba and Lionsgate’s ‘Write to Greenlight’ competition in 2016 and he was selected to be a Royal Television Society Talent of Tomorrow in 2017 and Gay Times Magazine ‘Emerging Artist’ in 2018. He has eight TV dramas in development with companies including Big Talk, Euston Films and BBC3.
Said Coherence producer Lene Bausager of Ugly Duckling Films, “When we read Ryan’s pilot last year, we were immediately struck by his maturity and scope in handling this incredibly powerful story and its characters. We were so surprised to hear that the ‘Doodler’ was not well-known, despite the monstrosity of his crimes, and really inspired by how Ryan’s period script held a lens up to the socio-political problems of today. The SFPD was one of the first to accept full status female police officers. Now that the SFPD have released a new sketch and announced that they are actively pursuing this case, we’re more excited than ever to tell this story.”
UDF’s Sophia Gibber added, “We Are Your Children is a criminal investigation that digs deep — both into the crimes and into our characters themselves. In addition to the gripping narrative of the search for the Doodler, Ryan presents a world that, while set in 1974, deals with issues that may look disturbingly familiar to classes of 2019.”
Ugly Duckling recently wrapped on writer-director Matt Chambers’ debut feature The Bike Thief, starring Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country) and Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days). Films in development include drama Pomegranate Is The Answer, the story of James Brett, founder of Plant for Peace, which is being written by Guy Hibbert (Eye In The Sky).
Brown is represented by Independent Talent in the UK and Paradigm in the U.S.