EXCLUSIVE: Guillermo del Toro’s Necropia Entertainment and Angryfilms’ Susan Montford and Don Murphy are teaming to option The Bloody Benders, a spec script by Adam Robitel. The scribe, a protege of Bryan Singer, based his script on the true story of the Benders, a husband, wife, son and daughter who ran a hotel in Kansas on the outskirts of the prairie in 1873. It might have been a precursor for the Bates Motel: As many as 20 guests checked in, and never checked out. The guests were robbed and murdered by their hosts, and the killers were never punished. ”It is a beautiful and brutal yet poetic story, based on a very famous case,” del Toro told me. “If you consider America back then, it was a great transition to modernity, but on the prairie, these were huge landscapes where people traveled and days and weeks on end would pass without communication. So nothing happens, then there is this brutal murder, and then it’s back to pastoral peace and quiet. That rhythm was very attractive to me.”
Del Toro just finished shooting the Legendary Pictures tentpole Pacific Rim, and will be doing post-production for the next year on the film. He said he will work on a polish with Robitel, but felt he and his Angryfilm partners would want to move quickly to set a director and not wait for him. “The time was so lax back then that the sheriff would show up and say, ‘What is that odor coming through the vent that smells like decomposing flesh?’ and the Benders said they didn’t know. And the sheriff said, ‘Would you mind if I take a look…tomorrow?’ Nobody was in a hurry, and that is a big reason why they got away with it.”
Montford said she liked the love story aspect, and Murphy called the script “the perfect mixture of genres — Western, horror, thriller and love story. The duo most recently produced Real Steel.
As far as I’m concerned, I hope all this is a warmup for the other film del Toro is collaborating on with the Angryfilms partners, At The Mountains Of Madness. That film had Tom Cruise ready to star at Universal until the film’s plug was pulled because the director could not guarantee the studio that the film would not be R rated, and the studio found that too risky for a $150 million film — even one that was going to be shot 3D with Avatar‘s James Cameron producing. They are all determined to get the film made elsewhere.
“It feels like Prometheus is a very similar proposition to our film,” said del Toro, giving another reason to root for Ridley Scott’s film this summer. Robitel is repped by APA, del Toro by WME and Exile Entertainment.