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Carter, who had made an award-winning short called The Ballad of Little Roger Mead, devoured the satirical 1996 David Prill novel, set in a town that celebrates the annual arrival of a serial killer with a parade and a pageant.
“The macabre sense of humor was very Charles Addams-ish,” Carter recalls.
He tracked the author down in Minnesota and scored the movie rights. Then, after seeing the similarly subversive Thank You for Smoking, he reached out to its co-producer Dan Dubiecki, whom Carter had met at a shorts festival. Together they overhauled the script, and it made the 2008 Black List of most-liked unproduced screenplays.
After another rewrite, Dubiecki recently took it to Paramount, which released the Dubiecki-produced Up in the Air. Execs likened the tone to Scream and Disturbia. Seven years later, Carter now has a deal to write a new draft with an eye to direct.
“I hope to deliver the expected genre conventions but do it in an idiosyncratic, richly layered and unexpected world,” says Carter, repped by New Wave Entertainment. “There will also be lots of blood.”
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