Turns out there is a “Project Greenlight” legacy.
The reality TV series, which plucked Hollywood hopefuls from obscurity to pursue their creative visions, was perhaps more famous for its cringeworthy behind-the-scenes moments than the films it yielded.
But two of its alums, scribes Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, have parlayed their “Feast” script for the show’s final season on Bravo into an impressive genre run.
They penned three “Saw” films for Lionsgate and are the minds behind home-invasion thriller “The Collector,” which is quietly shaping up for a wide 1,350-screen release when it bows July 31 through Freestyle Releasing.
The $3 million project, shot in 19 days and produced by Fortress Features and Imaginarium Entertainment, is also Dunstan’s Hollywood helming debut.
“The exhibitors’ reaction has been a wonderful shock, given that this summer’s dominated by wizards, robots and flying houses,” he admits.
Of course, Freestyle is emphasizing the scribes’ “Saw” connection in its promo push for the pic, in which a handyman ex-con aims to repay a debt to his ex-wife by robbing his new employer’s home.
As for their next steps, the duo’s already working on a “Saw VII” script.
“Will we do a romantic comedy eventually?” Melton asks. “Probably not.”
And the duo still gets recognized for “Project Greenlight,” more than four years after the fact — particularly from aspiring writers.
“Just the other night, a guy recognized us outside the Vista Theater,” Melton notes. “It was our big break and we’re still grateful.”