Oscar-nominated producer Brian Oliver (Black Swan) and his production company New Republic Pictures have optioned the horror-thriller feature script Dusted from writer Guy McDouall as part of the grand prize for Roadmap Writers’ “Road to New Republic Feature Competition,” Collider has exclusively learned.
A thriller in the tradition of Stephen King, Dusted follows a health care worker who discovers a supernatural force that is able to cure the terminal patients in the children’s ward at her local hospital, but not without deadly consequences.
“Of the many hundreds of interesting scripts we brought in with this contest, there was something about Dusted that stuck with us,” said New Republic’s head of development John Hilary Shepherd, who oversaw the partnership with Roadmap Writers. “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 McDouall on this project.”
Founded in 2016 by Joey Tuccio and Dorian Connelly, Roadmap Writers 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 just three years, the organization has helped more than 75 writers sign with agents and managers, and countless others get staffed or optioned.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Roadmap, not only to have found a great project in Dusted, but also to have discovered a number of extraordinary writers in the top ten,” said Oliver, whose New Republic inked an exclusive partnership with Roadmap Writers for the feature screenplay competition, which was open to scripts of all genres.
“We created Roadmap Writers to allow new screenwriters the opportunities not usually accessible to them. We are thrilled for this exciting collaboration with the amazing people at New Republic,” added Tuccio.
New Republic has a first-look co-financing deal with Paramount Pictures, and will release the Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton, on May 31. Oliver’s company also recently signed a first-look deal with Michael Fassbender’s DMC Films, and New Republic is also co-financing Sam Mendes‘ World War I epic 1917 with Amblin Pictures. Universal will release that film on Christmas Day, and it is expected to be the studio’s primary awards contender along with Cats. Oliver earned a Best Picture nomination for producing Black Swan, which grossed $328 million worldwide, and he’s credited as an executive producer on Rocketman, which has strong buzz heading into its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next week.