When it comes to action movies rallying at the box office, Phillip Noyce knows what works, and his résumé counts a plethora of successes including the Angelina Jolie spy movie Salt and the Tom Clancy movies Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
But with Lakewood, he’s gone outside the studio system to make a tight, female-driven thriller about a mother, stranded on a walk path, who has just learned that an active lockdown is taking place at her son’s high school.
“They don’t make the kind of action thrillers I like to make anymore; they’re all tentpole movies,” Noyce said during a conversation at Deadline’s TIFF Studio. Lakewood is making its world premiere at the festival.
Lakewood producer Zach Schiller calls the film “risky material to finance,” hence the project’s path outside the studio system.
Chris Sparling knows something about crafting down-to-the-minute nail-biters, having written the Ryan Reynolds movie Buried about a truck driver who is buried alive in a coffin in Iraq with only a lighter and cell phone at his disposal.
Sparling sought a sensitive take in his suspense, given how school shootings have become all too familiar.
Says the screenwriter about Naomi Watts’ character: “She had but no choice but to go toward the school. It was just herself and the phone. For better or worse, that’s our world know. So, what you get from that is that you have all this information, but some of that information isn’t helpful because it isn’t accurate.”
Lakewood is currently up for sale; UTA is handling domestic and Mister Smith Entertainment is handling foreign.
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