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In what is a timely and surely sensitive subject matter, Lionsgate has won 16 States, a hot spec script package from John Requa and Glenn Ficarra that has Don’t Breathe filmmaker Fede Álvarez attached to direct.
The topic: a pandemic, this time with zombies, with a story of a mother trying to reach her family at the center of it. The project has been described as having shades of the Will Smith zombie movie I Am Legend.
In moves that felt reminiscent of a time when spec script deals were a weekly occurrences, 16 States hit the town last weekend, engendering immediate interest from a set of buyers who were not afraid of the subject matter. Over the course of the week, Lionsgate came out on top.
Requa and Ficarra have been brewing the project since last year, but world events caught up to the script, making it as timely as it could get.
Roy Lee and Miri Yoon of Vertigo Entertainment are producing, along with Requa, Ficarra and Charlie Gogolak via their Zaftig Films. Álvarez, Shintaro Shimosawa and Rodolfo Sayagues of Bad Hombre are also producers.
The project reunites Álvarez with Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane and Erin Westerman, who lead the film group for Lionsgate. Drake and Kahane produced Álvarez’ Don’t Breathe and Evil Dead when they were partners with Sam Raimi at Ghost House. Westerman also was an executive producer on Don’t Breathe. Also on the reunification team is Damon Wolf, Lionsgate’s marketing chief who oversaw the Don’t Breathe campaign when he ran marketing at Screen Gems.
Aaron Janus is overseeing the film for Lionsgate along with Scott O’Brien.
Requa and Ficarra are writer-directors who count Crazy, Stupid, Love and Focus among their credits. They also wrote the upcoming Disney adventure movie, Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. They are repped by CAA and Mckuin Frankel.
Álvarez is repped by WME and Jackoway Austen.
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