Scott G. Hyman Launches Zest Productions to Shoot Movies in Canada

500 Days of Summer

The first project from the former Sneak Preview Entertainment exec is a screen adaptation of a 1974 young adult sci-fi novel, "House of Stairs," by the late William Sleator.

TORONTO - Former Sneak Preview Entertainment exec Scott G. Hyman (500 Days of Summer) has launched a Vancouver-based production shingle, Zest Productions, to make movies in Canada.

The first project is a screen adaptation of a 1974 young adult sci-fi novel, House of Stairs, by the late American writer William Sleator, whose rights Hyman optioned.

Montreal-based genre writer Doug Taylor has been hired to adapt the story about five orphaned teens in a dystopian near future suffering psychological exploitation in a seemingly endless Escher-like space of stairs.

Taylor co-wrote the $25 million sci-fi thriller Splice, which starred Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, with director Vincenzo Natali.

The VFX-heavy House of Stairs project is to be shot in Montreal to take advantage of local tax breaks for live action/CGI hybrids, with packaging to take place in the second half of 2012.

Martin Villeneuve, the younger brother of Quebec director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies), will direct House of Stairs for Hyman and fellow producers Michael Glassman (Phat Girlz) and Michael Solomon of Montreal-based Band With Pictures.

Hyman’s co-producer credits as vp of production and development at Sneak Preview Entertainment included Our Family Wedding and Miss March.

Before his Sneak Preview Entertainment stint, Hyman worked at MB Artists, a management and production outfit.

Sneak Preview Entertainment also shot the 2007 picture A Dennis The Menace Christmas, which starred Robert Wagner and Maxwell Perry Cotton, in Montreal.

That Canadian location shoot prompted a return by Hyman up north to tap Canadian tax breaks for movie production, while he remains based in Los Angeles.

Sleator died earlier this year after writing over 30 young adult novels.

None of his books have yet been made into feature films.

Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures earlier optioned another Sleator novel, the 1984 work Interstellar Pig.