Screen Talk: Partners in horror

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The Independent Culture

New Line's US remake of the Guillermo del Toro-produced Spanish-language horror movie 'The Orphanage' will be directed by actor-producer-director Larry Fessenden.

Fessenden has penned the English script with Del Toro, who is producing the new film with Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson of Contrafilm. The 2007 original was directed by Del Toro protégé Juan Antonio Bayona and centered on a woman who returns to the orphanage where she grew up to discover that her son's imaginary friend is the same person who once terrorised her. Fessenden has often worked in the low-budget horror world, making such movies as 'Wendigo' and 'The Last Winter' while appearing in pics such as 'I See the Dead'. Del Toro and Fessenden are old horror buddies it seems.

A role in 'Rock'

Andrea Riseborough will play the female lead opposite Sam Riley in upcoming project 'Brighton Rock', based on the Graham Greene novel. She replaces Carey Mulligan, who had been attached to the role. 'Rock', which marks the directorial debut of '28 Weeks Later' writer Rowan Joffe, originally came to the screen via Richard Attenborough in 1947. It centres on a small-time gangster who kills a rival and finds he faces blackmail threats from a waitress (Riseborough). BBC Films and the UK's Optimum Releasing plan to be shooting the film this year in the UK.

Breaking out

'The Experiment', the feature debut of 'Prison Break'-creator Paul Scheuring, has attracted heavyweight Hollywood attention after Sony said it is backing the project. Travis Fimmel has joined the cast of the psycho-thriller that already boasts Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. A remake of Oliver Hirschbiegel's 2001 German hit, the picture is based on an incident at Stanford University in 1971 in which an experiment that sought to find out how ordinary people would react in a prison situation goes horribly awry.

High premiums for underwriter

Hollywood loves a zero-to-hero story which is why a former insurance salesman from Pennsylvania is making waves in Hollywood as a writer. Brad Ingelsby penned a dark thriller for fun 'The Low Dweller' which caused a fuss before Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott quickly signed on to produce. The scribe soon had other projects, including the Todd Field-directed 'Nancy & Danny' at Paramount and the Marc Forster-produced 'Die Bad' at Universal. Now he is developing a script with Warners based on 'Sacred Prey', Vivian Schilling's novel, to turn it into a high-concept thriller centring on a loan shark who kills a man he believes duped him, only to wake up and find himself in the body of that man three days before the murder. He must then get very busy to prevent the murder he has committed.

Worthington takes a tourist Cruise

Australian actor Sam Worthington (below) has replaced Tom Cruise in the long-gestating thriller remake 'The Tourist', opposite Oscar-winning model turned actress Charlize Theron. Theron, who has long been attached to the project, and Worthington will be the leads in the redo of the 2005 French spy-thriller 'Anthony Zimmer', written and directed by Jerome Salle. In the original, a female Interpol agent chooses an everyman American tourist visiting France and dangles him as bait in the hunt for a dangerous criminal, her former lover. Bharat Nalluri is directing from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Bill Wheeler and Chris McQuarrie. Cruise had flirted with the project before moving on to a James Mangold concept at Fox. Worthington last starred in 'Terminator Salvation' and will next be seen in James Cameron's 'Avatar'.