Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Timur Bekmambetov has won a spec auction for Maggie, a script that sparked a spirited auction today, with six bidders. Bekmambetov will produce a film that has a script by John Scott 3, and vfx wiz Henry Hobson set to direct. Why did so many bidders spark to the script? Aside from offering some inventive twists on the popular zombie genre, Maggie is a blueprint for a genre movie that can be made for between $4 million and $8 million. That budget range has suddenly become highly desirable for distributors looking to make genre films in the mold of Paranormal Activity.

Maggie is a 16-year old girl from a town in middle America who becomes infected by a zombie. Much the way that Danny Boyle changed the lumbering zombie stereotype by speeding up the undead in 28 Days Later, Maggie changes the lightning quick infection period evident in most zombie films, where victims become zombies in minutes. It will take six weeks for Maggie to turn, and the film tracks the transformation as she stays with her family. Trevor Kaufman will produce with Bekmambetov.

When he’s not writing scripts, the writer builds commanding for NASA’s flagship X-ray satellite. He works with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which takes photos of X-ray photons in deep space. Hobson was trained at the Royal College of Art in London as a graphic designer, and specializes in creating inventive title sequences for films that included Sherlock Holmes for Prologue Films. He was just hired by Sony to direct its campaign for the PlayStation 3 series Resistance.

Both will likely get their first feature credits on Maggie, because the mid six-figure deal comes with progress to production language that puts the film on course to be in production within a year. Bekmambetov moved quickly as producer on the “found footage” pic Apollo 18, which was acquired by The Weinstein Company and will be released by Dimension Films in January.

Verve made the deal. Verve reps Scott, CAA and Energy Entertainment rep Hobson.

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