EXCLUSIVE BY MATT GROBAR (READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE): Bluestone Entertainment has preemptively acquired rights to “Support Group for the Formerly Possessed,” an original horror short story written for Assemble Media by J. Preston Witt, with plans to produce a feature adaptation alongside Assemble.
In Support Group, a patient, charged with a murder they cannot remember, finds themselves subjected to a 5150 psychiatric hold in an institution. There, they uncover a chilling truth: the facility is dedicated to treating disorders that stem from supernatural causes.
The Assemble team came up with the original concept before developing it into a short story, featured in the third edition of its genre-focused quarterly short story magazine Assemble Artifacts, which is published through Blackstone Publishing. Producers of the adaptation will include Richard Saperstein for Bluestone, Jack Heller for Assemble Media, Trevor Engelson for Underground, and John Graham. Assemble Media’s VP Development & Production Caitlin de Lisser-Ellen will exec produce alongside Assemble’s President of IP and Literature Steven Salpeter. Bluestone’s Annie Saperstein, Brooke Saperstein, Beau Turpin and Sandy Shenkman will also executive produce.
Overseen by Heller and De Lisser-Ellen, Assemble Media is a lit-focused production company that generates projects from the ground up, working with novelists at every level to develop and package their original stories, many of which they’ve set up at networks, studios and streamers after securing their publication. Other current projects for the company include Mercy Sparx and Instafamous, set up at Amazon/MGM and MGM TV, respectively, and Screen Gems’ Paradise Court.
Previously, Assemble produced S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 starring Vince Vaughn, Gia Coppola’s Venice-premiering Andrew Garfield starrer Mainstream for IFC Films, and John Michael McDonagh’s drama The Forgivenstarring Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain. The fifth issue of its Assemble Artifacts mag, featuring stories spanning sci-fi, horror and comedy, was released December 5.
Founded by former senior studio exec Saperstein, Bluestone develops, finances and produces mid-budget features and TV series across all genres. Currently, the company is in pre-production on Nuremberg, the historical drama written and to be directed by James Vanderbilt that has set Russell Crowe, Rami Malek and Michael Shannon to star.
Assemble was represented in the deal by Marc H. Simon and Daniel Spencer of Fox Rothschild. Pagan and Deutschman are repped by WME, Underground and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.