Screen Gems, Austin Chick in scream team

Indie darling to write, direct Hamptons-based thriller

NEW YORK -- Sony Screen Gems and indie darling Austin Chick are taking a trip to the Hamptons.

The label has signed on for a Hamptons-based thriller from Chick that mixes elements of the found-money morality tale "A Simple Plan" with those of a youth-oriented romantic thriller like "Cruel Intentions."

The untitled project, which Chick is writing and will direct, revolves around three early twenty-somethings -- two brothers and a brother's girlfriend -- who, while vacationing in the Hamptons, come upon a cache of money. They get embroiled in an increasingly complex plan to divide it up and elude the money's true owners, who are pursuing them.

The project, which also involves a love triangle, is set for a March shoot on Long Island. Casting is set to begin shortly.

The WMA-repped Chick directed the 2008 Josh Hartnett drama "August" and made his debut with the Mark Ruffalo romantic drama "XX/XY"; he also served as a co-producer on Sidney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." He said he was eager to work on a movie that he described as "straddling the line between a thriller and a prestige movie" because of the state of the indie business.

"I'd like to continue doing more specialty movies in the future, but with the business hitting such hard times I wanted to try something a little different," he said.

Screen Gems, which had a breakout earlier this year with the $44 million-earning "Prom Night," has been expanding its scope. The Clint Culpepper label has signed on directors like Lasse Hallstrom, who will direct the romantic drama "Dear John."
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