New Line Wins Spec Auction For ‘Shut In’, Elevated Thriller By First-Time Scribe Melanie Toast

Courtesty Melanie Toast

EXCLUSIVE: New Line Cinema has won an auction for Shut In, a spec script by first-time scribe Melanie Toast. Producing are Farah Films’ Dan Farah, Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Cinestate’s Dallas Sonnier.

The spec is an edgy thriller that will follow a fast track toward production. A single mother is held captive by her violent ex, and her two young children are left at risk. She must do everything to protect them and survive.

Kathy Tran
Courtesy Dan Farah

Toast lives in a small Texas town with her husband and children, and her script was first discovered by Sonnier on The Black List website. He purchased the script with the intention to quickly self-finance the film as an indie, and he introduced Toast to Farah, who signed her as manager, and UTA.

Sonnier and Farah first met as college interns for Scott Rudin, and knew each other while Sonnier worked at UTA and Farah at ICM, before Farah focused on producing in the studio system while Sonnier focused on indies. They often spoke of finding a project together, one that fused the grit and tight budget of an indie with the commercial potential of a studio film.

After reading Shut In, Farah told Sonnier this was it. They agreed and Farah oversaw a rewrite to make the spec more studio friendly, and brought in frequent collaborator Lee, who produced the It and Lego Movie franchises, with the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep and the limited TV series The Stand upcoming. Then they shopped the film to studios and financiers and got numerous offers before New Line made the deal. The scribe has been offered numerous writing assignments, and is closing to write one for Miramax for Eli Roth, and another for New Line and producer James Wan.

Cinestate’s Amanda Presmyk and Danielle Cox will be exec producers along with Farah Films’ Andrew Farah. Cinestate, which resurrected Fangoria Magazine, produced The Standoff at Sparrow Creek and Dragged Across Concrete this year and is prepping Run Hide Fight.

Farah, which produced Ready Player One, has the Ernest Cline novel Armada in the works at Universal, Intruders at Paramount and the series revamp of Hellraiser.

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