EXCLUSIVE: Solstice Studios has optioned feature film rights to Reeves Wiedeman’s New York Magazine article “The Big Hack,” which depicts what experts describe as a plausible doomsday disaster scenario caused by a wide-scale cyberattack on New York City. The recent Colonial pipeline hack purportedly executed by a Russian ransomware group that is spiking gas prices on the East Coast makes the cautionary tale timely.
The article paints a scenario where hackers gain control of everything from the ignition and steering wheels of cars to hospital computers, subways and electricity, plunging the city into total chaos. All of these and other systems are subject to black hat hackers that simply sent USB sticks to engineers that operate power facilities, promising explanation of benefits. When some of those engineers plugged in the USB sticks at work, hackers had control. The article appears in the June 13 issue of the mag.
Mark Townend will turn the scenario into an action thriller film script, and The Arlook Group’s Jack Greenbaum and Richard Arlook are producing. Sam Speiser is overseeing the project for Solstice.
“The convergence of technology and human drama is a subject that has always been fascinating to me,” Townend said. “I couldn’t be more excited to adapt this insightful and terrifying article. There’s never been a more relevant time to bring this important and thrilling story about the immense power that hackers wield over our lives to the big screen.”
Townend recently penned the script to Grant Sputore’s sci-fi thriller Augmented as well as the action thriller Contingency Protocol. He previously wrote Bone in the Throat, based on Anthony Bourdain’s novel of the same name, starring Vanessa Kirby, Rupert Graves and Ed Westwick.
Townend is represented by Verve, Bellevue and attorney Marios Rush.
Wiedeman, a contributing editor for New York, has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Harper’s and Men’s Journal. The journo is repped by UTA.
This is the latest project that The Arlook Group has set up in the film and television space. Others include high school comedy Popular with Berlanti/Schechter at HBO Max, The Tip at TriStar alongside Unique Features, and an adaptation of the children’s book series Cam Jansen at MGM Television.
Solstice’s first film, Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, was the first new movie back in U.S. theaters in August 2020.
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