Uni is taken with Herman's vengeance spec

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Universal has acquired the spec "Rites of Men," a dramatic thriller from writer Jonathan Herman that has drawn comparisons to "Taken."

Herman's script centers on a working-class single dad whose only son is murdered, and he sets out on a quest to solve the killing.

Universal senior vp production Scott Bernstein is the exec who brought in and is in charge of the project at the studio; no producer is attached.

The deal marks the second spec sale for Herman in less than a month. The writer, repped by WMA and Luber Roklin Entertainment, made a pre-emptive deal to sell his script "Conviction" to Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures. That project centers on a former bank robber who is forced to go to undercover to nab his one-time protege.

The sale of "Rites" marks another deal in which a project is compared to "Taken." Several scripts making the rounds or landing deals have drawn comparisons to the Fox hit, including "Prisoners," Aaron Guzikowski's kidnapped-child tale, to which Mark Wahlberg is attached. (partialdiff)
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