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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

S.I.S.

There's been some trade buzz about an old project of mine at Warner Bros., S.I.S. I began developing this idea with Lorenzo DiBonaventura and Antoine Fuqua over five years ago. It was inspired by Antoine's experience on Training Day and an idea I had for a different kind of antagonist. The Special Investigation Section is essentially a covert ops division of LAPD. Their unorthodox methods often bring them under the scrutiny of the Christopher Commission and the ACLU. These guys are highly-trained soldiers who handle everything from tracking repeat offenders, to terrorist alerts, to kidnappings. They are the go-to guys when the shit hits the fan and no one else can handle the breeze. Originally, Antoine was attached to direct, but as the project developed, he dropped out to do American Gangster (which also didn't work out). That's when I approached Lorenzo and the studio about directing the film. They liked the smaller, darker version I had in mind and signed off on me directing it. We had a budget, it was out to talent and at one point I believe it was on the slate for 2007. Then The Poseidon sunk Warner's and their slate was wiped clean. I was told that anything that was remotely a marketing challenge was tabled. In-Crime (the script name at the time) was a dark, urban drama -- a marketing challenge with no foreign value. The project was dead. Flash forward to 2008. The Writer's Strike happens and Warner's is desperately looking for material. They dive back into their development pile and blow the dust off of In-Crime. I got a call from my agents saying the project was back in play. Unfortunately I was neck-deep in Sons of Anarchy without a hole in my schedule until 2009. So as much as it killed me to let this project go, I had no choice. I'm not familiar with Chris Gorak's work, but I hear good things about him. A masterful storyteller is what I've been told. I've learned to treat projects/scripts like children. You give birth to them, you raise and develop them, but at some point you have to let them go. Other people need to influence and nurture them. All you hope for is that they don't grow up to be bad. I look forward to seeing SIS grow up. Hopefully it will make me proud.

2 comments:

Rashad Ferguson said...

Just discovered your blog. Nice read... Thanks for giving us a behind the scenes look at the behind the scene lifestyle of a screenwriter.... Rock on Brother!

david said...

I am a big fan of your work on THE SHIELD, & very much looking forward to SONS, but the version of SIS that made it to Spike last week was cliched & embarassingly predictable, & casting-wise peopled with the typical impossibly good-looking cops "gritted up" with five-o'clock shadows & affectated quirks. The lawyer with the hardon for the squad's constitutionally questionable tactics was portrayed as hateful & one-dimensional. & on top of all this, the lead cop gets his man killed in the opening sequence trying to play cowboy, & it doesn't even become an issue! On top of all that, the bad-guy crew hilariously met every unrealistic racially-diverse network requirement that made most '80s & '90s cop shows so ridiculous. This wasn't quite your original vision, was it? Not making fun, am very curious!