Universal Pictures is developing a reality-based action film centered around the recruitment and training of Secret Service agents. The studio has optioned a cover story in the Washington Post Magazine by Laura Blumenfeld, and set Greg Poirier to write the script. Poirier’s work includes The Spy Next Door and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and he is writing the Ashley Judd-starrer Missing for ABC. Double Feature Films partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher will produce. Blumenfeld went through the training program to write her article and it included shooting weapons, hand-to-hand combat, psychological and other training methods. The Secret Service differs from most law-enforcement branches in that applicants don’t need a law enforcement background to apply. That lends an everyman aspect to a film that will follow a group of aspirants who go through the training program to become agents. There hasn’t been a good Secret Service agent movie since In the Line of Fire, which is surprising considering the high stakes.
ABC has picked up a second new original scripted series for next summer: Missing (aka Safe aka Hall of Mirrors). The project, from feature writer Greg Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) and Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews, the producers behind ABC’s 2010 summer series The Gates, was put on fast-track development in early fall with an order for 3-5 backup scripts. Missing, produced by ABC Studios and Matthews and Scharbo’s Little Engine Prods., centers on a worried mom who, after her son disappears in Italy while overseas for a summer internship, takes it upon herself to travel to Europe and track him down. It soon becomes clear that this isn’t any ordinary woman, but a former CIA agent who will stop at nothing to bring her son home alive. Steve Shill, who won an Emmy last in August for his directing work on Dexter, is on board to direct multiple epidodes of the series, including the opener. He will also executive produce with Poirier, Scharbo and Matthews.