Paramount has decided it won’t be scared by “The Book of Skulls” and has tapped William Friedkin to direct, three decades after he helmed horror classic “The Exorcist.”
Par-based Alphaville will produce “Skulls” with shingle co-chiefs Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks shepherding. Story, based on the Robert Silverburg novel, centers on a quartet of collegians who discover an ancient book containing the secret to eternal life and the high cost attached.
Bruce Bernhard and Sam Gaglani, who brought the property to Alphaville, will also produce. Jeff Davis, whose spec thriller “Retribution” was sold last year to Dimension, has been signed to script.
“To be writing a psychological horror film for William Friedkin, the man who set the standard in the genre by directing what is considered to be scariest and most viscerally disturbing movie of all time, is more than a writer could hope,” Davis said.
Friedkin received an Oscar nom for directing “The Exorcist,” two years after winning the director Oscar for “The French Connection.”
Daniel and Jacks have an extensive background in developing projects in the horror and thriller genres such as “The Mummy,” “The Mummy Returns,” “The Scorpion King,” “Dark Blue,” “A Simple Plan,” and “The Hunted.” They also exec produced the upcoming Coen Brothers’ dark comedy “Intolerable Cruelty” for Universal.
Friedkin is repped by WMA; Davis is repped by Becsey Wisdom Kalajian and managed by Zide/Perry.