Mike Fleming

refEXCLUSIVE: Nicolas Winding Refn is in early talks to direct The Bringing, the horror movie spec by Brandon and Phillip Murphy that Sony Pictures acquired in a competitive bidding battle in February. Matt Tolmach is producing with First Born Films’ Daniela Cretu. This is the one that got the town whipped into a frenzy partly because its catalyst was a widely circulated video of a young woman who displayed erratic behavior in an elevator at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, the place where such killers as Richard Ramirez called home at one time or other, and where numerous suicides have occurred. The woman, Elisa Lam, was found dead in the water tanks at the roof of the hotel. The script has nothing really to do with that that tragedy but it created a germ of an idea focusing on a man investigating a death at the hotel, and the nightmare he stumbles into.

Refn must have seen the video, because while the director of Drive, Valhalla Rising and Bronson is usually courted for projects, he sought this one out. From his Copenhagen home, he is a horror connoisseur who badly wants to make a terrifying film. This sounds a bit like The Shining, where Stanley Kubrick has similar aspirations, and turned Stephen King’s novel in to the standard for movies about haunted hotels. If the deal making works out, Refn will get his chance to make one too. It was an easy sell for Sony, all big fans of Refn. Sony production president Michael De Luca and Rachel O’Connor are steering the pic. Refn is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Independent Talent. Here is another look at the video that captured the zeitgeist:

Get Deadline news and alerts sent to your inbox.