Permut Presentations has acquired “Madman,” a historical horror script set during the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination.
David Permut, who received a best picture Oscar nomination for “Hacksaw Ridge,” is producing. The script is written by Alexa Garster based on Caleb Jenner Stephens’ book “Worst Seat in the House.”
The story follows Henry Rathbone, a close friend of Lincoln’s who was with the president at Ford’s Theatre on the night of his murder in 1865. Rathbone was the only person to confront John Wilkes Booth that night and was haunted by horrific hallucinations of the assassin that tore his life apart while his beloved wife, Clara, desperately tried to bring him back to reality.
“I’m excited about this script because it lives in two worlds,” Permut told Variety. “It’s very much a genre horror piece, but it’s also historically accurate and tells a story not many people know. It’s unlike anything else on my slate. I think this will attract a director who has a unique cinematic style that will leave their imprint on the film.”
The acquisition of “Madman” is in keeping with Permut’s passion for telling true stories, including the biographical war drama “Hacksaw Ridge” and the Netflix comedy “The Polka King” about polka sensation Jan Lewan. His upcoming projects include “Chippendales,” starring Ben Stiller and Dev Patel, and the Dock Ellis biopic “Dock” with O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Keenan Porterfield, who brought the project to Permut, is co-producing. Permut is represented by Neil Sacker at Skadden Arps.