Screenwriter Chris Sparling made a name for himself with the one-man, one-location script Buried, which landed on the Black List, an industry insider list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year, and premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Huge buzz (read my review) resulted in a bidding war which ended with Lionsgate spending millions to distribute the film.
Sparling’s second feature screenplay is being fast tracked into production, with Buried producer Peter Safran. Not much is known about the movie’s premise, but Variety says that the action film “centers on three co-workers who — on a routine stop at an ATM — unexpectedly end up in a desperate fight for their lives.”
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I first learned of Buried after the spec screenplay appeared on the Black List, a listing of the top unproduced screenplays of the year. Written by Chris Sparling, the film stars Ryan Reynolds as a U.S. contractor working in Iraq who wakes up to find that he has been buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap. The entire 94 minute feature takes place in the coffin, with no cutaways to the outside world. Aside from his phone, Reynolds is the only actor who appears on screen in the film.
As a former screenwriter, I’m a huge fan of minimalistic one-room thrillers — Hard Candy, Tape, The Killing Room, Frozen…etc. I’ve been looking forward to Buried since it was first announced, and tonight I finally got to screen the movie as part of Sundance’s Park City at Midnight category.
Buried is a cinematic achievement in almost every respect.
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