Columbia Picks Up Spec Script By S. Craig Zahler

Michael De Luca on board as producer of "The Big Stone Grid."

Columbia has picked up The Big Stone Grid, a spec by S. Craig Zahler, with Michael De Luca on board as producer.

Described as a dark and intense modern-day crime saga in the vein of Seven and Marathon Man, the story is set in motion after a puzzling suicide prompts an investigation that leads two decorated detectives to discover a terrifying extortion ring that operates within the secret underbelly of New York City.

Zahler is a New York-based writer whose scripts have landed on the Black List multiple times, including the top spot.

He was a cinematographer who gave up film for a catering career. But the film bug never left him and he worked on a script in his spare time. The script was The Brigands of Rattleborge, which led the 2006 Black List. The uber-violent Western ended up sold to Warner; Phoenix picked it up out of turnaround and is now producing.

Rattleborge kicked off a hot writing career which also saw his spec Raw Knuckles sell to Warner Bros. His first novel, A Congregation of Jackals, is due in May.

Zahler wrote Grid in February. It went out to studios on Wednesday, getting multiple bids, with Columbia winning Friday.

The deal was in the mid-six figures.

Josh Bratman at Michael De Luca Productions brought Grid into De Luca, who took it to Columbia. The studio’s Sam Dickerman and Lauren Abrahams will oversee.

Zahler is repped by UTA, Caliber Media and PJ Shapiro.