Paranormal cop thriller has Eric Bana in talks

In a change of pace from its recent output of four-quadrant blockbusters, Jerry Bruckheimer Films will produce “Beware the Night,” a paranormal police thriller from director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) that Eric Bana is in negotiations to topline.

Story follows a New York cop who investigates demonic possessions, exorcisms and other supernatural occurences.

The project has a long history, as JBF purchased a treatment for a “Beware the Night” book to be written by Ralph Sarchie several years ago. Derrickson and his writing partner Paul Harris Boardman were the first to take a crack at adapting the material. David Ayer, Bryan Bertino and Bruce C. McKenna were subsequently tapped to work on the screenplay before JBF went back to Derrickson to revise the script and direct the movie, to which Screen Gems is considering acquiring distribution rights.

While Jerry Bruckheimer Films is best known for producing summer tentpole fare such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Prince of Persia,” “The Sorceror’s Apprentice” and the upcoming Disney pic “The Lone Ranger,” the company does develop darker, more adult material including adaptations of Lorenzo Carcaterra’s crime novel “Apaches,” Steven Pressfield’s WWII tale “Killing Rommel” and the thriller “Shake,” based on a short story by Derek Haas (“Wanted”).

Derrickson is a hot commodity as a filmmaker, as his low-budget horror pic “Sinister” has grossed nearly $50 million Stateside. He and Boardman co-wrote Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis 3 movie “Devil’s Knot,” which stars Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon. In addition to working on remakes of several horror classics, Derrickson is attached to direct “Goliath” for Relativity Media and Temple Hill, as well as Blumhouse’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Breathing Method.”

Bana, who is currently shooting Peter Berg’s Universal pic “Lone Survivor,” will next be seen opposite Rebecca Hall in John Crowley’s thriller “Closed Circuit,” which Focus will release on Aug. 28, 2013.

WME reps Bana, Derrickson and Boardman, while CAA reps Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

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