McBrien spec sails to Escape Artists

'Nautica' thriller prod'n set for after potential strikes

Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal’s Escape Artists has acquired the Richard McBrien thriller spec with the working title “Nautica” in a mid-six-figure deal.

An intricate puzzle story in the vein of “The Usual Suspects,” “Nautica” is the tale of three people on a yacht to the Bahamas who find themselves embroiled in sexy skullduggery.

Will Davies will produce the pic with Escape Artists’ Black, Blumenthal and Steve Tisch. Pic is on a fast-track development sked in hopes of putting it into production immediately after the end of the potential strikes.

McBrien penned the British miniseries “Trust,” which Warner Bros. Pictures is currently developing as feature vehicle for Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Daily Variety, Dec. 4, 2000). Davies has sold a number of high-profile projects as a writer, including “The Poetess” to Working Title, “Fool on the Hill” to MGM and the New Regency project “Truth or Dare.” Both are repped by UTA.

An independently financed film production company formed through the merger of the Steve Tisch Co. and Columbia-based Black and Blu Entertainment (Daily Variety, Oct. 20), Escape Artists has a first-look deal to distribute its pics domestically via Col and internationally via Summit Entertainment.

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