Mark Heyman

Mark Heyman

According to Deadline Hollywood, Mark Heyman has been hired by Paramount and Indian Paintbrush to script Syndrome E, based off the best-selling novel of the same name from Franck Thilliez. The book, for what it’s worth, sounds a lot like The Ring without the supernatural elements. Or Cigarette Burns with a police procedural shoved in the middle. It focuses on a detective named Lucie Hennebelle whose best friend is struck with blindness after watching a terrifically violent movie from the 1950s (my guess is Seven Samurai). As it turns out, the film has subliminal flashes that spell death for anyone who watches, but it’s not a little girl in a well that comes for them. It’s something a bit more earth-bound. Familiarity aside, there’s something thrilling here, and Heyman should be cause for a lot of excitement. He cut his teeth with Darren Aronofsky and has proven to be a strong talent in his own regard. This could be very, very cool.

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With social media infiltrating the minutiae of daily existence, it’s only inevitable that the prevalence of such things would seep into the multiplex. And, of course, movie theaters near you will soon be bombarded with “social media thrillers” that center the dangers of Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts, Facebook profiles, and Google+ circles (kidding about the Google+, sorry, Google!). After all, what’s more terrifying that someone having access to scads of information about you, including (in some cases) your real-time location? And what could be more compelling than such a thriller penned by Black Swan scribe Mark Heyman? We reported on Heyman’s script, called XOXO, over a year ago, and back then we only knew that it was set to center on “the way that social media has altered our interactions. The story is about a young man who meets a girl online, starts up a relationship with her, but then finds her to be not quite what he expected once she starts taking the relationship to strange, stalkery places.” The film will also “incorporate both webcam, documentary elements…and it will create stylized visual sequences to depict the online interactions between the two main characters.” Heyman wrote the script on spec, but it now seems to be tapping right along, with Lionsgate attaching George Nolfi to both direct and help with a rewrite on the project.

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Perhaps motivated by all of the awards season rivalry that existed last year between his own script Black Swan and the Aaron Sorkin penned The Social Network, writer Mark Heyman has written a Facebook story of his own. This new script, titled XOXO, seems to have a little bit in common with both of those aforementioned films. Like Black Swan it is a story about obsession and one character stalking another. Like The Social Network it examines the way that social media has altered our interactions. The story is about a young man who meets a girl online, starts up a relationship with her, but then finds her to be not quite what he expected once she starts taking the relationship to strange, stalkery places. The film is said to incorporate both webcam, documentary elements like last year’s case of mistaken online identity film Catfish, but also it will create stylized visual sequences to depict the online interactions between the two main characters, I guess kind of like Hackers.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as SecretWindowNotSoSecret and iDuddits in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the question of who exactly made the movie gets front and center treatment. Why do we treat directors with authorial authority when it comes to assigning ownership to a film? Why not the writers? Why not the gaffers? Who really is the true author of a movie and has the auteur theory ruined everything?

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