Screen Gems Wins Bidding War for Mike Le’s Zombie Script ‘Patient Zero’ (Exclusive)

The character-driven action-thriller is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a gifted man sets out to save his wife

1378498_10153396651085315_1863354162_nIn a competitive situation, Screen Gems has acquired Mike Le’s zombie script “Patient Zero,” which is described as a character-driven action-thriller, TheWrap has learned.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, “Patient Zero” features a unique hook — a protagonist with the ability to speak the language of the undead who interrogates zombies with the hopes of finding Patient Zero and a cure for his infected wife.

Terms of the deal are being kept under wraps, but as TheWrap first reported, Screen Gems had stiff competition for the spec, which generated strong response around town before Clint Culpepper decided to take it off the table when it was simply titled “Patient Z.”

Hot off the $259 million (and counting) worldwide gross of “We’re the Millers,” Vincent Newman will produce “Patient Zero” under his Vincent Newman Entertainment banner.

Also Read: Will Mike Le’s Zombie Script ‘Patient Z’ Be the Next to Bite Off a Major Sale? (Exclusive)

Those familiar with the script told TheWrap that it features a rich mythology and has the potential to reinvent the zombie genre just as Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s “28 Days Later” did in 2002. One individual described the project as being in the vein of “The Walking Dead” and “Warm Bodies,” while another compared it to “Interview With a Vampire,” but with zombies.

Zombies are back in the zeitgeist as Halloween approaches, with the record-breaking season 4 premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” drawing more than 16 million viewers. The series was just renewed for a fifth season, though zombies aren’t just hot on cable TV. While some box office analysts predicted that Brad Pitt‘s zombie movie “World War Z” would be dead on arrival this summer, it managed to gross $540 million worldwide for Paramount.

Screen Gems has had plenty of success catering to genre audiences with creepy creature features such as the hit “Resident Evil” and “Underworld” franchises. The company’s upcoming releases include Scott Derrickson’s “Beware the Night,” which finds Eric Bana investigating a series of gruesome crimes involving the occult and possible demonic possession.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Renewed for Season 5

Le, who previously penned “Tokyo Suckerpunch” for Fox Searchlight, also wrote Paul Solet’s haunted house horror movie “Dark Summer,” which recently wrapped production. He also teamed with “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman to write the bestselling comic book “Mayhem” for Image Comics.

The creator and producer of the popular web series “K-Town” and “Roll Models,” Le is represented by APA, manager Jonathan Hung and attorney Linda Lichter.