Prod'n co. pays six figures for Vanity Fair article

Castle Rock Entertainment has paid a $200,000-against-$450,000 ransom for William Prochnau’s current Vanity Fair article “Adventures in the Ransom Trade: The Roaring Business in Kidnapping U.S. Executives,” sources said Tuesday.

Taylor Hackford is attached to produce and helm the project, which Tony Gilroy will script and exec produce. Hackford, Gilroy and Castle Rock previously teamed on the 1995 film “Dolores Claiborne.”

Prochnau’s article, which appears in the May issue of Vanity Fair, details the boom in organized kidnappings of multinational businessmen, who are abducted each year and held for ransoms as high as $30 million. In the course of his reporting, Prochnau accessed the secretive world of “kidnap insurers,” a counterindustry that has cropped up to combat the epidemic.

Castle Rock beat out a coterie of potential film kidnappers with New Line Cinema and director Barry Levinson teaming for a bid. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney/Touchstone and producer Stanley Jaffe and Columbia Pictures were among the others hotly competing for the piece.

Castle Rock Pictures president Martin Shafer brought the project in and will oversee it.

Prochnau’s deal was brokered by ICM’s Alicia Gordon. Hackford was repped by ICM’s Jim Wiatt and Patty Detroit, who also brokered Gilroy’s deal.

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