After more than a decade in development, a movie about the infamous “Stanford Prison Experiment” is finally moving forward with Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano set to star and “C.O.G.” filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez (“C.O.G.”) directing, TheWrap has learned.
Sandbar Pictures and Abandon Features are financing the indie project, which Brent Emery and Lizzie Friedman are producing with Greg Little, Lauren Bratman and “The Hurt Locker” star Brian Geraghty.
The film is based on the landmark experiment conducted at Stanford University in the summer of 1971, in which randomly-chosen 19 and 20-year-old students were divided into camps of either prison guards or prisoners. The experiment was meant to last two weeks, but it was cut short due to the level of cruelty and sadism that erupted among the participants.
The story is particularly topical, as many Twitter users have drawn parallels between the Stanford Prison Experiment and what’s currently going on in Ferguson, Missouri, where police have been accused of abusing their power.
Hollywood has been trying to tell the Stanford Prison Experiment story since the 1970s, when its creator, Dr. Philip Zimbardo, began hearing pitches from movie producers soon after he testified in front of Congress about his findings.
Many different variations have been developed since, but none ever made it before cameras until now. Production finally starts Tuesday with Crudup playing Zimbardo, who’s still called to testify about incidents that involve alleged abuses of power, such as Abu Ghraib.
The current version of the project has been in the works since 2002, when Emery first hired Tim Talbott to write the script. Since then, Emery has shepherded “Stanford Prison Experiment” through many obstacles, including the 2007 Writer’s Strike, which prevented the film from heading into production at the time.
Emery finally found his way to Sandbar Pictures and Abandon Features via UTA, which packaged the project and will represent its North American rights.
Angela Demo and Barbara McCarthy handled the casting of the movie, and additional actors will be announced shortly. Ramo Law is handling legal work for the production.
Crudup is coming off starring roles in Guillaume Canet’s crime drama “Blood Ties” and William H. Macy’s music-driven indie “Rudderless.” He’s best known for playing Dr. Manhattan in Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen,” J. Edgar Hoover in Michael Mann‘s “Public Enemies” and guitarist Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.”
Represented by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Crudup will soon be seen alongside Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde in the indie movie “The Longest Week.”
Miller starred in the acclaimed indie films “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” He recently wrapped Judd Apatow‘s “Trainwreck” and will soon be seen opposite Mia Wasikowska in “Madame Bovary.” He’s repped by Paradigm and attorney Jodi Peikoff.
Angarano currently stars as ‘Bertie’ on Steven Soderbergh‘s acclaimed Cinemax series “The Knick” after working with the director on “Haywire.” He got his break with early roles in “Almost Famous,” Gary Ross’ “Seabiscuit” and David Gordon Green’s “Snow Angels.” Angarano will soon be seen in the Jason Statham movie “Wild Card.” He’s repped by UTA and Jackoway Tyerman.
Alvarez’s “C.O.G.” premiered in competition at Sundance and was adapted from David Sedaris’ short story. He’s represented by UTA and Media Talent Group.
Sandbar Pictures and Abandon Features most recently completed production on Helen Hunt’s film “Ride,” which co-stars Brenton Thwaites and Luke Wilson.