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Oh, how things can change in a month. Last month a mostly unknown screenwriter named Eric D. Wilkinson spent money he probably didn’t have to take out a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter. The ad was actually a movie pitch. He was trying to get the attention of the people behind the potential Die Hard prequel, because he had an idea he thought would work. We absolutely loved the idea here and it looks like we weren’t the only ones. While we’re still waiting to see what happens with the Die Hard series, Wilkinson and his writing partner just got one of his scripts optioned as a direct result of the ad.
The project is called The Devil and is a modern action/horror take on the urban legend of the Jersey Devil. The story will focus on a fraternity who is engaged in a "hell night" when they discover that the legend is, in fact, a reality. Wilkinson says that his version of the devil is "bigger, badder, and scarier" than anything we can imagine. It certainly sounds intriguing. It also has to be better than the last movie with a similar name.
According to Wilkinson, he was contacted by an executive at Eclectic Pictures, the production company behind Olympus Has Fallen, and its upcoming sequel, following publication of the Die Hard pitch he had put together with his longtime writing partner, Richard Schenkman. The pair sent them several ideas and it looks like The Devil was the most intriguing of the choices.
Wilkinson and Schenkman’s idea was essentially Die Hard in a prison as Bruce Willis’ John McClane was locked up for a crime he probably didn’t commit. It had some significant flashback sequences which satisfied the "prequel" idea which seems to be the current plan for the next step in the franchise. At the same time, most of the movie was still a sequel, which will also make many fans happy, as many think the prequel idea is a very bad one.
This is what it looks like when a plan comes together. Wilkinson made his move to get noticed, and not necessarily in regards to Die Hard. He surely just wanted people to see his ideas. His method of getting noticed was far from subtle and it ended up bearing fruit. Now he has a project in development.
We’re certainly curious to see if The Devil makes it to the screen. If the script is as interesting as his ideas for Die Hard, it could turn out to be a great film. Ok budding screenwriters, the ball's in your court now. What are you going to do to get noticed?