M. Night Shyamalan Taps ‘Buried’ Writer for ‘Twelve Strangers’

Chris Sparling will write the thriller, which concerns a jury deliberating a case that involves the supernatural

Last Updated: December 20, 2013 @ 4:33 AM

"Buried" screenwriter Chris Sparling will write the supernatural thriller "Twelve Strangers" for producer M. Night Shyamalan and Media Rights Capital, Sparling's representation at UTA confirmed to TheWrap.

The story follows a jury deliberating a case that involves some paranormal activity.

The project will be the second feature to be produced under Shyamalan's genre banner The Night Chronicles, which has wrapped "Devil," directed by John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine").

Universal distributes the thriller on February 11 but my girlfriend attended a recent test screening and said it was "silly, predictable and not particularly scary." (Update: Apparently, she also thought Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" was "silly and predictable," and I think that film is close to a masterpiece, plus I really enjoyed Dowdle's "The Poughkeepsie Tapes," so I'm keeping an open mind on "Devil," especially since it stars Chris Messina, who was so great in Sam Mendes' "Away We Go.")

Shyamalan recently promoted development exec and former agent Ashwin Rajan to president of production for The Night Chronicles. MRC signed Shyamalan to a three-year deal with the aim of working with up-and-coming filmmakers to make one movie a year.

Rodrigo Cortes' "Buried" stars Ryan Reynolds as a man trapped in a coffin underground. Lionsgate bought the claustrophobic thriller at Sundance and plans to release it with a new ending on October 8.

In other Shyamalan news, Deadline reports that Universal has shown the most interest in the untitled thriller that CAA and the "Last Airbender" director have been shopping around Hollywood with Bruce Willis, Bradley Cooper and Gwyneth Paltrow "loosely attached" to star.

Cooper would play a father who taps into some supernatural powers while desperately searching for his missing child. Let me guess the twist right now … there never was a child!

Seriously though, I had higher hopes for this project, considering the cast it managed to "loosely" attract. It just seems like the surprise success of "Taken" has led to an onslaught of those types of movies, and frankly, I have a hard time picturing Cooper in that type of role, not to mention the fact that his last supernatural thriller involving a child, "Case 39," has been sitting on a shelf at Paramount for at least a year.

I caught Christian Alvart's film a few weeks ago as a complimentary selection on a Delta Airlines flight, and while it wasn't very good, I do think it's releasable, especially with no evil-kid movies on Hollywood's horizon.