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Focus Features has picked up the North American distribution rights to The Forest, a supernatural thriller based on an original idea by David S. Goyer.
The project comes with Jason Zada attached to direct and a script by Sarah Cornwell.
David Linde‘s Lava Bear Films is producing the film along with Goyer and Nellie Reed under his Phantom Four banner.
Focus has set a Jan. 8, 2016, release for the U.S. At the same time, Good Universe has partnered with Lava Bear to handle international sales on the film.
Forest is set in the legendary Aokigahara forest, a real-life place in Japan where people go to end their lives. (It coincidentally marks the second major English-language project to be set there, after Gus Van Sant‘s Sea of Trees, which will star Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe. It’s safe to say that the drama will be a polar opposite to Forest.)
According to the producers, Forest centers on “a young American woman who comes in search of her twin sister, who has mysteriously disappeared. Despite everyone’s warnings not to ‘stray from the path,’ she dares to enter the forest to discover the truth about her sister’s fate, only to be confronted by the angry and tormented souls of the dead who now prey on anyone who crosses their paths.”
Cornwell rewrote the original script by Goyer.
Zada is a commercial and music video director who directed Take This Lollipop, a creepy interactive short that connected to Facebook and made it appear that a killer was stalking you. It was viewed more than 7 million times during its debut week in 2011.
Lava Bear president Tory Metzger will oversee the production of the film.
Goyer is repped by WME and Zada is repped by UTA. Cornwell is repped by CAA.
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