EXCLUSIVE: Even as the Sundance deals look to be heating up, it looks 2021 has its first major sale on the horizon. While a deal has not closed yet, we are hearing MGM is in exclusive negotiations for the supernatural thriller Adrift with Jared Leto attached to star and Darren Aronofsky on board to direct. Jason Blum will produce. Sources say once the package hit the market earlier in the week, MGM was extremely aggressive and moved fast to be in pole position to land the package. Details behind the financing were unavailable since the deal has not officially closed.
Blum will produce through his Blumhouse Productions along with Leto and Emma Ludbrook via their production company Paradox, as will Carla Hacken through her Paper Pictures banner.
The film is based on a short story by Koji Suzuki, who wrote The Ring. Aronofsky and Luke Dawson will be co-penning the script. Insiders close to the package say Leto identified the project and he and Ludbrook pursued the rights for 10 years before bringing to Blum and Aronofsky.
The story is set in the dead calm of the open sea, where a fishing boat discovers an abandoned yacht with a strange distress call. A deckhand agrees to take lone control of it while it’s towed into port, but soon he discovers why the rest of his more experienced crew members call it a “Ghost Ship.”
No production start date has been set as a script still needs to be written and scheduling needs to be worked out. Aronofsky has his sights set on A24’s The Whale as his next project, which he will shoot with Brendan Fraser in March, while Leto has Ridley Scott’s Gucci followed by the Apple TV+ series WeCrashed, which the network just picked up for a series this morning.
Leto has The Little Things for Warner Bros starring opposite Denzel Washington and Rami Malek. That film is dropping Friday in theaters and on HBO Max. He also is developing a handful of projects including a sequel to Tron: Legacy, which has him attached to star and Garth Davis on board to direct. He can also be seen in the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff Morbius.
Leto is repped by WME and Aronofsky is repped by CAA. The short story by Suzuki is repped by Kadokawa.