Paramount Pays Record-Setting Amount For Amy Adams' Sci-Fi Thriller

By Kristy Puchko 2014-05-14 12:26:09discussion comments
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Hot off her Academy Award nomination for American Hustle, Amy Adams is the toast of Cannes as the star of the as-yet-to-be-shot film called Story Of Your Life. The sci-fi thriller had five studios--including Universal and Paramount--engaged in a heated battle for its North American distribution rights. Now, the dust has settled and Paramount has come out on top, offering a record-breaking fee for the privilege.

Deadline reports Paramount Pictures has laid down $20 million for the rights to release Story of Your Life in the U.S. and Canada. Negotiations are continuing regarding Paramount's interest in distributing the pic in China as well. This is the highest price paid out of the Cannes Film Market, and a surprising one considering industry experts were expecting this year's event to be unremarkable when it came to deals.

Based on a short story by celebrated author Ted Chiang, Story Of Your Life is a science-fiction thriller set on an Earth where aliens have landed. Adams will star as a linguist called in to make sense of the strange language these extraterrestrials speak, and in doing so uncover if they come in peace or not. Once she does learn to communicate with these otherworldly tourists, she begins to experience intense flashbacks that become the main tool for uncovering the true reason for these aliens' visit.

Story of Your Life first hit our radar earlier this year when it was announced as Canadian director Denis Villenueve's follow-up to his Jake Gyllenhaal-fronted thriller Enemy. (Not to be confused with his other Jake Gyllenhaal-fronted thriller Prisoners.) The project gained instant buzz, not only because Villenueve has been building a reputation as a craftsman of tension and chilling drama, but also because Story of Your Life's screenplay had been plucked from the Black List, a collection of the most raved about unproduced screenplays floating around Hollywood.

To be frank, the screenwriter of Story of Your Life, Eric Heisserer, has a unimpressive filmography. To date he's been credited with writing such uninspired horror offerings as the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street reboot, Final Destination 5, and the 2011 The Thing prequel. However, Heisserer's script for Story of Your Life was apparently compelling. After all, it attracted not just producers and Denis Villenueve but five-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams, as well.

Adams signed on to Story of Your Life last month. Aside from giving her a too rare chance to play the sole lead in a film (as opposed to the "female lead"/girlfriend of the main character), this thriller will also allow Adams the chance to dig into science-fiction, a genre she's only dabbled in with Her and Man of Steel.

There's no word yet on when Paramount might pick to release Story of Your Life in the United States, or even when it might roll into principal photography. We'll give you more on this intriguing thriller as it develops.
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