EXCLUSIVE: Former Paramount production chief Adam Goodman’s Invisible Narratives has teamed with Michael Bay to produce Songbird, a pandemic thriller that plans to take an unusual approach to shooting a movie in Los Angeles during the lockdown. It will begin production within five weeks, and might be the first film to shoot in the city.
The film will be directed by Adam Mason (Into The Dark), who wrote the script with Simon Boyes (Misconduct). The filmmakers are providing remote training for the actors. None of the participants would say exactly how they plan to shoot a movie at a time when the guilds are still compiling their own safety protocols so that production can resume. I’m told that the filmmakers behind Songbird have screened their plans by the guilds, and they are good to go.
The film is ostensibly a taut thriller in the spirit of Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. It takes place two years in the future. The pandemic has not gone away. Lockdowns have been rolled back and then reinstated and it becomes even more serious as the virus continues to mutate. I don’t believe there are supernatural elements involved, but there is governmental conspiracy and paranoia and how it impacts the cast of characters who remain in lockdown. Casting is underway now.
The film is low budget and the funding is in place, but it will be sold at the upcoming Virtual Cannes Market by ICM Partners (which along with 3 Arts reps Mason) and Endeavor Content (WME reps Bay). There is a proof of concept sizzle reel that will be used to sell the picture.
Bay is producing alongside Goodman and Eben Davidson of Invisible Narratives, which is partnered with Catchlight Studios and its founders Jeanette Volturno (former head of production at Blumhouse), Jason Clark (former Seth Macfarlane Producer),Marcei Brown, Jessica Malanaphy and Rick A. Osako. The cinematographer, Jacques Jouffret (The Purge) is a longtime Bay associate, and the production designer is Jennifer Spence (the Paranormal Activity and Annabelle films), with Nancy Nayor casting.
Goodman’s passion at Paramount was these kind of modest budget films like the Paranormal Activity films, and he teamed with Bay on nine projects during those years. This will be an interesting one to watch. I’m told that when it is shot, there will never be people in room together, and social distancing rules will be carefully followed. Scenes will be shot after crew has come in to prep the shots, and there won’t be any scenes where actors engage fact to face. It’s not exactly the techniques that were used in the film Searching, but the plan is to be as nimble as possible.