In a bidding war today, Universal dropped a six-figure sum to pick up the spec script, The Disciple Program as a star vehicle for Mark Wahlberg. Written by debut screenwriter Tyler Marceca, The Disciple Program centers on a man who begins to investigate his wife’s murder and finds a conspiracy that goes much deeper than he ever imagined. The Manchurian Candidate-style thriller will be directed by Morton Tyldum (Headhunters) with Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson set to produce. Variety reports that Wahlberg had previously commented that he liked Tyldum’s film Headhunters and was interested in participating in the remake, if there were to be one. While it doesn’t look like that remake will happen any time soon, at least Wahlberg gets his wish to work with Tyldum. Hit the jump for more on The Disciple Program.
Deadline also reports that Marceca, new to the Hollywood scene, quickly gained attention with his first script. Hundreds of phone calls poured in after he entered the script in a screenwriting competition, but the writer lacked representation. After signing with an agency, The Disciple Program script was held back in order to hone it and build talent around the property. There’s an awesome rundown of how Marceca’s script blew up Hollywood over at the Daily Dot. Here’s the logline provided by Robert Mark Kamen (Taken) that sparked the contest:
“After waking to find his wife dead in their backyard, a man conducts his own investigation, and uncovers the hidden life of a woman he thought he knew.”
The script has now found a home with the talent of Wahlberg, Levinson and Universal, who previously collaborated on the hit film, Contraband. The studio also has another hit in the making on the hands with the Wahlberg-starrer and Seth MacFarlane-directed comedy, Ted, coming out July 13th. The film also stars Mila Kunis, Joel McHale and Giovanni Ribisi.