by Scott Roxborough
2/2/2015 9:39am PST
Sony has closed the first major studio buy of this year’s European Film Market, and the EFM hasn’t even started yet.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has snatched up rights in multiple territories, including Australia, Spain, Eastern Europe and all of Asia outside of Japan, for The Forest, a supernatural thriller to star Natalie Dormer and Michiel Huisman.
Based on an original idea by The Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer, The Forest is set in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, at the base of Mt. Fuji. The story follows a young American woman, Sara (Dormer), who goes in search of her missing twin sister. Despite everyone’s warnings to “stay on the path,” Sara enters the forest determined to discover the truth about her sister’s fate, only to be confronted by the angry and tormented souls of the dead who prey on anyone who wanders the forest.
Dormer’s Game of Thrones fellow alum Huisman has joined the cast of the feature, which newcomer Jason Zada will direct from a script rewritten by Sarah Cornwell and Nick Antosca. Focus Features has picked up North American rights and is planning a wide domestic release on Jan. 8, 2016.
Huisman, whose credits include Wild and World War Z, is repped by ICM Partners. Dormer, last seen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 and Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club, is next set to star in Screen Gems’ Patient Zero from director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters). She is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment, United Agents in the U.K. and attorney Karl Austen.
Lava Bear Films is producing The Forest with Goyer under his Phantom Four banner. Shooting is scheduled to start in May. Lava Bear is handling international sales with Good Universe. Tory Metzger, president of Lava Bear, is overseeing the production of the film.
In addition to the multiple territory deal with Sony, Lava Bear and Good Universe also closed presales with Splendid for Germany, Switzerland and Benelux, with Icon for U.K. distribution, with Grand Cinema for the Middle East and with Sun Distribution for Latin America.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter