Warner Bros has acquired The Vatican, a pitch for a conspiracy-driven thriller to be scripted by David Cohen. William Brent Bell, who directed and co-wrote the weekend’s surprise hit The Devil Inside for Paramount’s Insurge release label, has made a deal to direct the film. The Vatican will be produced by Roy Lee, Lawrence Grey and John Middleton, and Bell’s producing partner Matt Peterman. Peterman wrote The Devil Inside with Bell, and produced that horror hit with Morris Paulson. The low-budget The Devil Inside grossed $34.5 million on an opening weekend that is usually dominated by holiday holdovers.
SPOILER ALERT Bell recently spoke to MovieWeb and tried to make a convincing case for why they stuck with that cheap ending, and he doesn’t really succeed. “People seem to understand movies so much, they want something different. But, when they get something different, they don’t like it. We all agreed, and Paramount and everybody, came to the conclusion to have the ending be this. We think it’s pretty ballsy, even for Paramount, to stand behind that, but we’re totally behind that,” Bell rationalized. “That website, we think it’s a pretty interesting experiment. There’s going to be a lot more on there that continues the story, even more than is on there now. It’s a continuation of the story, and it will be up on there sooner than you think. Nobody is waiting for the DVD extras. We’re going to show you a continuation of the story on that website very soon.”
The Vatican, a sale that was conducted right before the holidays, will be fast-tracked by Warner Bros and is described as a hybrid that uses some found-footage techniques like The Devil Inside did. Cohen wrote Subject Zero, a script on last year’s Black List, and No One Lives, which is in postproduction, was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Luke Evans.