FilmDistrict Takes On 'The Devil Inside' Director's 'Wer'

4:23 PM PST 02/07/2012 by Todd Gilchrist
Paramount

Cowriter-director William Brent Bell speaks to THR about the horror film, which is set to start shooting in April.

FilmDistrict is partnering up with Sierra/Affinity to finance the horror film Wer. Shooting begins April 9 on the film, which is director William Brent Bell’s follow-up to the January box office hit The Devil Inside.

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Speaking to THR, Bell revealed that the project precedes The Vatican, another project Bell is attached to. “The projects are totally separate,” Bell said today via email. “Wer is currently in pre-production with shooting this April. For the The Vatican we're waiting on the first draft of the script from Dave Cohen.”

Bell, who cowrote the film with Matthew Peterman, declined to offer plot details for Wer, but suggested the title wasn’t necessarily shorthand for “werewolf.” “We can't speak about many specifics with Wer,” he wrote. There are rumors. Some true. Some not. For instance ‘wer’ can mean ‘who’ in German but means ‘man’ in Old High German.”

The Devil Inside was a significant hit for Paramount, despite receiving an F from CinemaScore, a company that solicits audience reactions after viewers exit films. When asked what lessons he learned from the polarizing reactions audiences had to the ending of The Devil Inside, Bell said he was excited to test audience expectations but now had a greater sense how those experiments can affect their overall enjoyment.

“When trying to make these films feel authentic we chose not to follow every rule,” Bell wrote. “The real world doesn't follow a perfect three-act structure.  The ending was unexpected and that's what we wanted. We knew the abrupt would throw some audiences but didn't expect such a passionate reaction.  Then there is the website at the end leading audiences to more information about the movie. That was a very unique, last minute idea. Since Paramount has been so successful in ground-breaking interactive concepts we thought it might be great. We learned that when you try something for the first time it's dangerous. The URL experiment didn't go over well. But we won't shy away from taking chances in future projects - but we now have a better understanding how profoundly those ideas can affect an audience’s experience.”

With filming scheduled to start on Wer within just a few months, Bell said he’s already figured out how he plans to shoot both that film and The Vatican. He indicated that both films would utilize the crime-documentary approach that gave The Devil Inside authenticity, but also branch off into different directions aesthetically. “We love the format of crime docs versus just found footage,” he wrote. “Both of these projects will utilize these techniques - each very differently - but we want to try new things as well.”

Bell is repped by Martin Spencer at CAA.

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