16 States

Fede Alvarez, the filmmaker behind Don’t Breathe and the remake of Evil Dead, has a new thriller in the works. He’ll tackle 16 States, a zombie pandemic thriller (timely!) which was written by the guys behind Crazy Stupid Love and Bad Santa. Lionsgate just secured the rights to the script after a bidding war. Get the details below.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 16 States centers on a mother desperately trying to reach her family at the center of a zombie pandemic. The script was in the works last year, but has obviously become more relevant than ever in recent months.

John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, whose credits include I Love You Phillip Morris, Focus, Smallfoot, and Disney’s upcoming adventure thriller Jungle Cruise, wrote this as a spec script, and as soon as it went out to potential buyers last week, it evidently caused a stir. Lionsgate walked away victorious, and now Alvarez, who most recently directed the Lisbeth Salander reboot/continuation The Girl in the Spider’s Web for Sony, is on board as its director. Spider’s Web was something of a box office dud, but Alvarez has shown a knack for directing horror-tinged projects with female leads and just might be the right fit for this one. The big question is: by the time Hollywood get back up and running and this project actually makes it through the gauntlet of production and post-production, will audiences have an appetite for anything related to the pandemic?

Alvarez will produce alongside Requa, Ficarra, Roy Lee, Miri Yoon, Charlie Gogolak, Shintaro Shimosawa, and Rodolfo Sayagues.

THR says 16 States has “shades” of Will Smith’s 2007 zombie movie I Am Legend. Even though I Am Legend falls apart in the last act, that movie was a huge showcase for Smith as an actor, putting the entire film on his shoulders as he wanders through a mostly-empty New York City with only a dog by his side. He rose to the occasion, delivering one of the best performances of his career. Since Lionsgate outbid other studios for this, it seems like the studio sees a lot of promise in the concept, so hopefully they’ll invest enough into this that 16 States will provide its own prominent showcase for whoever ends up being cast as the mother. Halle Berry, perhaps? Maybe Toni Collette? Feel free to shout out your faves in the comments.

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