Per Deadline, John Hillcoat is set to direct a feature adaptation of J.G. Ballard‘s 1988 novella Running Wild. David Leland has written the script, and Hillcoat will also produce alongside Jonathan Pavesi through Blank Films Inc.
The story is set in an exclusive gated community in the desert on the outskirts of Los Angeles where 32 adults – all brilliant, successful professionals who have built their homes with pride – are brutally murdered, and their children abducted without a trace.
A Forensic Psychologist is enlisted to delve into the circumstances of the heinous crime. As the investigation continues and they dig deeper into the events, they soon run into conflict with their superiors as their suspicions fall on a very different kind of community – a religious cult which invokes memories of the Branch Davidians and their charismatic leader, David Koresh.
When Ballard’s book was first published, it caused a bit of an uproar, even though it’s now not known as one of his best known works. He’s best remembered for writing Concrete Island, Crash, Empire Of The Sun, and more. The last film adaptation of his work was 2015’s High Rise.
Hillcoat is best known for helming westerns such as The Proposition, Lawless, and The Road, though his last film was 2016 crime thriller Triple 9.
Running Wild doesn’t sound like anything he’s made before, but it has a fascinating premise that should lead to plenty of audience interest. Now comes the hard part of turning a mere 77-page book into a full screenplay.