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Icon picks up ‘Stanford’

McQuarrie directs university drama

LONDON — Icon Entertainment Intl. has picked up international sales rights to Christopher McQuarrie’s upcoming feature project “The Stanford Prison Experiment.”

Pic, set to shoot this October, is based on the true story of Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s ground-breaking study of human behavior at Stanford U. in 1971.

Student volunteers were assigned roles as guards and prisoners in a mock prison, but the relationship between them degenerated so rapidly into abuse that Zimbardo had to abandon the experiment halfway through.

The movie, co-written by McQuarrie and Tim Talbott, will star Kieran Culkin, Paul Dano, Jesse Eisenberg, Charlie Hunnam, Ben McKenzie, Giovanni Ribisi and Channing Tatum.

McQuarrie and Talbott produce alongside Maverick Films’ Brent Emery, Mark Morgan and Guy Oseary, and Bill Vince for Infinity Features. John Ptak of Arsenal, who brokered the international deal with Icon, is representing North American rights.

Pic will shoot on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, California, and in Regina, Canada. This will be McQuarrie’s second outing as a director, following his 2000 debut “Way of the Gun.”

He won the original screenplay Oscar for “The Usual Suspects” in 1996, and is currently working as a writer and producer on the Bryan Singer/Tom Cruise WWII project “Valkyrie” for United Artists.

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