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A version of this story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Joel Schumacher is checking in. The director-producer is teaming with Investigation Discovery for a true-crime series about hotel murders, including the 2010 killing of designer Sylvie Cachay at Manhattan’s Soho House. The three-episode Do Not Disturb: Hotel Horrors, set to premiere later this year, also will spotlight a priest killed by a male street hustler in New Orleans and a homicide at a London chain hotel.
But Schumacher was most intrigued by the unlikely posh crime scene of the Soho House incident, in which Cachay was strangled and drowned by her boyfriend, Nicholas Brooks, son of “You Light Up My Life” composer Joseph Brooks. “You think of these gruesome, grisly crimes [happening] in sleazy motels — not [to] young, attractive, trendy people at the Soho House,” Schumacher tells THR. “That added to the sensationalism and piqued people’s interest.”
He adds that Do Not Disturb will feature details even those who followed the notorious case closely would not know, covering Brooks’ childhood, the effects of the economic downturn on Cachay’s design business and interviews with Cachay’s mother and best friends. The series will combine cinematic re-enactments with archival footage. Mark Marabella is directing and exec producing alongside Schumacher, Jay Peterson and ID’s Pamela Deutsch, with Matador Content producing.
Although Schumacher is just executive producing the series, he’s very involved. The ID fan started working on the series through his friendship with Peterson. He says he’s “minding the store for Jay” and that his role involves trying to solve whatever issues crop up on the low-budget series, which doesn’t have much time to film each episode.
“When you have no money and no time, [my job] would entail, [for instance,] running out to a store in Williamsburg to get a black jacket for the actress to wear sitting at a desk,” Schumacher says. “I try to help them out with whatever the problem is and try to show them maybe a shortcut.”
Schumacher will also help the series have a highly stylized cinematic look and feel, ID says.
“It’s an honor to welcome distinguished Hollywood legend, and self-proclaimed ID addict, Joel Schumacher to the Investigation Discovery family,” Discovery Networks group president Henry Schleiff said in a statement. “Do Not Disturb explores the dark aspects of the hotel experience we’ve all encountered — vulnerability, seclusion and anonymity — so we can’t wait to see what Joel’s creative genius adds to this psychological edge-of-your-seat thriller.”
Schumacher adds: “I love true crime and I’m fascinated with the criminal mind (because I have one), which is why I love ID. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to work on a show for them?’ and we hit on this idea of murders in hotel rooms — so expect violence, sex and all the scandal and twists ID fans want to see.”
The show is merely the latest high-profile true-crime series, coming on the heels of addictive podcast Serial and HBO’s Robert Durst documentary series, The Jinx.
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