EXCLUSIVE: We can tell you first that French filmmaker Alexandre Aja is set to direct the horror feature Elijah for Searchlight Pictures as the newly owned Disney label continues a streak with genre fare following last year’s Ready or Not and Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro’s Antlers.
The Last Witch Hunter scribe Cory Goodman sold the original pitch to Searchlight before Aja came in to direct, and rewrite with Gregory Levasseur (Mirrors). Pic follows a young boy who invites a mysterious man into his home, believing the stranger to be the key to saving his sick mother. As increasingly disturbing things start to happen around his home, the boy soon realizes that the sinister stranger is not the savior he claims to be.
Producers are David Goyer and Keith Levine of Phantom Four (The Night House) and Adam Goldworm of Aperture Entertainment.
Searchlight’s SVP of Production DanTram Nguyen is overseeing the project with Manager Apolline Berty.
Goodman sold sci-fi thriller Oberlin Incident spec to Paramount and the four quadrant holiday adventure comedy pitch Merry Little Christmas (co-written with Jeremy Lott) to Paramount with Originals Films producing. He also sold the seven-figure Lore spec with Dwayne Johnson to Warner Bros. and Hood to Sony (both co-written with Lott). Last Witch Hunter, co-written by Goodman, grossed $147M WW. He also penned the $78M-grossing Screen Gems movie Priest.
Aja directed such cult features as Crawl, The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension and Piranha 3D among many others. He is in post production on the feature O2. Crawl was a notable profit maker for Paramount last year, grossing $92M off a $13.5M production budget.
Aperture Entertainment is currently developing Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstor at New Republic and The Oberlin Incident at Paramount. Aperture recently produced the critically acclaimed indie hit My Friend Dahmer.
Goodman is repped by Verve Talent and Aperture Entertainment. Levasseur is repped by HJTH. Aja is repped by WME and Industry Entertainment, and Hansen Jacobson.
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