EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Ford’s AGC launches international sales at upcoming Cannes market on crime thriller Anna Kendrick The dating gamewhich was previously installed at Netflix but has now freed itself from the streamer.
Oscar-nominated Kendrick (In the air) is in advanced talks to star in the feature film about the chilling true story of serial killer Rodney Alcala and Cheryl Bradshaw.
Ian MacAllister McDonald’s Blacklist screenplay is based on the stranger-than-fiction episode where Bradshaw was single in the hit 70s TV show. The dating game and chose handsome and funny bachelor number one, Rodney Alcala. But behind Alcala’s charming facade hid a deadly secret: He was a psychopathic serial killer in the middle of a murder spree.
On the show — you can watch the chilling snippets below — Bradshaw asked Alcala questions like, “I’m serving you for dinner. What is your name and what do you look like?” Alcala responded to the latter by saying, “My name is Banana and I look good.” “Can you be a little more descriptive? Bradshaw asked Alcala. ‘Skin me,’ he said, and the audience laughed.
By this time, Alcala had murdered five women and was convicted of the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl, but he managed to get on the show because background checks were more lax. This left Bradshaw in a position where she was supposed to go on a chaperoned date with Alcala, only to find she was turned off by her weird vibe. In 1980 he was sentenced to death for murder and investigators found evidence – hundreds of photos of women, girls and boys, and mementos police thought belonged to the victims – in a storage locker. While he would appeal on several occasions, when advancements in DNA were made, he was linked to more murders. His execution was postponed indefinitely when California declared a moratorium on death penalty cases in 2019, but Alcala died of natural causes last year while on death row.
Detectives estimated he may have killed up to 130 people. The film revolves around the events of the game show.
On board to direct is Chloe Okuno, whose feature debut Observer played at Sundance this year. This thriller, about a stalker and the stalked woman, tackled themes similar to The dating game and was eventually picked up by IFC and Focus Features. The project was supported by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, shareholder of AGC.
UTA and CAA co-rehearse nationally on The dating gamewhose availability to buyers probably marks for them the gratifying reverse of the scenario that enticing packages from the market can be snatched from under their noses by studios.
AGC launches sales and will co-produce. The producers are JD Lifshitz and Raphael Margules for BoulderLight Pictures (The cow, Becky) and Roy Lee and Miri Yoon for Vertigo Entertainment. Lee’s credits include the This franchise, Doctor Sleep, The Grudge franchise, the ring franchise, The deadand Observer, also sold by AGC. Kendrick will produce through his Let’s Go Again banner.
Principal photography is slated for late summer, and casting for Rodney Alcala and other roles is underway. AGC’s senior vice president of legal and business affairs, Anant Tamirisa, negotiated the deal on behalf of AGC and CAA and UTA negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers.
Kendrick’s Production Company Projects let’s go again include anthology series Love life for HBO Max, the sci-fi thriller Stowaway for Netflix, and the upcoming Lionsgate feature film Alice, darling.
Said Ford: “We are delighted to renew our relationship with Chloe and Roy having had the privilege of being a partner on Observer. The dating game promises to be a fresh and terrifying atmospheric slice of true crime horror”.
Margules commented: “We couldn’t be more delighted to join forces with Stuart and the rest of the AGC team to tell this compelling story told by visionary Chloe Okuno and starring the spectacular Anna Kendrick. As popular as the true crime genre is, we know the public has never seen anything quite like it.
Lee added, “Chloe is the perfect filmmaker to direct this prescient story of suspicion, doubt and psychosis. We are delighted to work with her again to bring this project to life.
Kendrick is replaced by CAA and Range Media Partners; Okuno is replaced by UTA and Peter Sample at Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein; Vertigo is replaced by CAA; and BoulderLight is replaced by Range Media Partners.