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William Jackson Harper’s Thriller ‘They Remain’ Bought by Paladin (EXCLUSIVE)

Paladin has acquired domestic theatrical rights to horror-thriller “They Remain,” starring William Jackson Harper and Rebecca Henderson, Variety has leaned exclusively.

Philip Gelatt directed “They Remain” from his own script, adapted from the 2010 short story by Laird Barron. Will Battersby produced through his Reno Productions.

Gelatt re-teamed on “They Remain” with Reno Productions, which also produced his 2011 debut feature “The Bleeding House.” Paladin and Reno are prepping “They Remain” for a film festival launch and theatrical release commencing in the fall.

Harper and Henderson portray scientists employed by a vast, impersonal corporation to investigate an unspeakable horror that took place at the remote encampment of a mysterious cult. Working and living in a state-of-the-art, high tech environment that is completely at odds with their surroundings, they spend their days gathering physical evidence, analyzing it, and reporting on their findings.

When Henderson’s character discovers a mysterious artifact of unknown origin, the dynamic between them changes: secrets are kept, sexual tensions arise, and paranoia sets in. Having lost all sense of what is real and what is imagined, all he knows is that the horror they have been sent to uncover now threatens his very survival.

Harper’s credits include “Paterson” and NBC’s fantasy comedy series “The Good Place.” “True Story”). Henderson’s credits include Noah Baumbach’s “Mistress America.”

Gelatt has worked as a graphic novelist and comic book creator for the “Indiana Jones” franchise, and for such companies as Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press. He also worked as a video game writer for such companies as Crystal Dynamics and Frictional Games, and on “Rise of The Tomb Raider,” for which he won the Writers Guild of America Award.

The deal was negotiated by Mark Urman for Paladin with Reno. Battersby cited Urman’s work on “The Bleeding House” as a key reason for the making the deal, adding, “He was the only distributor  whom we showed ‘They Remain’ as we were so convinced that his experience, ability and unique taste would be the perfect combination to release this film.”

Urman said, “I can’t remember when I last encountered a film that so completely defies categorization and so consistently forges new territory as ‘They Remain.’ Phil weaves such a potent spell, and creates such extraordinary images, you’re utterly convinced that, any second, something awful will happen.”

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