Brian Oliver, the Oscar-nominated producer behind Black Swan, has optioned the horror-thriller script, Dusted. Writer Guy McDouall won the grand prize for Roadmap Writers’ Road To New Republic Feature Competition, which led to Oliver’s production company – the aforementioned New Republic Pictures – optioning the screenplay.
The film is described as a thriller in the vein of Stephen King. It follows a health care worker who discovers a supernatural force able to cure the terminal patients in the children’s ward at her local hospital. However, the cures come with deadly consequences.
John Hilary Shepherd, New Republic’s head of development, said: “Of the many hundreds of interesting scripts we brought in with this contest, there was something about Dusted that stuck with us.
Not only is health care a talking point for literally everyone, from presidential candidates to my Aunt Millie, but who doesn’t love a great, creepy, small-town, character-driven, supernatural thriller with a stunning female lead role? We are very excited about working with Guy on this project”.
Roadmap Writers was founded in 2016, and is a platform committed to “educating and empowering writers by giving them the tools and insight to elevate their craft and cultivate relationships with industry professionals”. In the three years since its inception, the organisation has helped over 75 writers sign with agents and managers, or get their work optioned.
New Republic has a first-look co-financing deal with Paramount Pictures, and will release the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, later this month on Friday, May 31. The company is also co-financing Sam Mendes‘ WWI drama, 1917, alongside Amblin Pictures. If Dusted can get somewhere close to the potential of those two films, New Republic may have unearthed a gem.