Time for ‘Tick-Tock’

Col pays over $1 mil for duo's suspenser

When the final grain of sand dropped through the hourglass, Columbia Pictures had paid well above $1 million for “Tick-Tock” — a suspenser from the writing team of Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.

New Line and Universal had been circling the spec, according to insiders.

It focuses on an amnesiac who awakens in the custody of the FBI as the prime suspect in a series of Los Angeles bombings. Without knowing whether he actually is the bomber or merely someone set up to take the fall, he must help guide a young FBI agent though L.A. in a frantic race to find and disarm the remaining explosives before more lives are lost.

No helmer is attached as yet, but producer Gavin Polone said that he is aiming to head into production by early spring at the latest. (Polone is also producing David Koepp’s “The Panic Room” at Columbia, with Nicole Kidman toplining and David Fincher at the helm.)

The writing duo came up with the idea while the two were near-penniless video clerks at a Tower Video in Orange County — a job that Bagarozzi says helped inform much of the Hitchcock-inspired real-time pacing of “Tick-Tock.”

“While we didn’t have any money, we could take home three videos a night,” said Bagarozzi, reached at his home. “It was great. I sort of made my way through all of Hitchcock, then Orson Welles and Paul Newman.”

Bagarozzi most recently penned “The Tin Man,” an L.A. noir detective tale that John Frankenheimer has agreed to direct; Barry Sonnenfeld and Barry Josephson will produce with Shane Black. Mondry is a tyro scribe.

“Tick-Tock” will be supervised by Col exec VP of production Matt Tolmach and by creative exec Jonathan Kadin.

Bagarozzi and Mondry are both repped by Endeavor.

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