Jae C. Hong/AP
[Update: Territories have started to be assigned, with Lawrence Grey’s Grey Matter Productions taking the project into Netflix, Bob Teitel’s State Street Pictures into Paramount Players, Eva Longoria’s company unbeliEVAable into Universal, and Robbie Brenner’s Unburdened Entertainment into Lionsgate, Screen Gems and Global Road. Our original story is below.]
If you’ve been paying attention to the news of late — the real news, not the Hollywood news we serve here with a smile each day — then surely you’ve heard of “sanctuary cities.” These are basically cities that protect the illegal immigrants who Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal law enforcement agency ICE are so keen to deport. Naturally, this has led to tension between ICE and local law enforcement. In Oakland, for example, the City Council passed a resolution cutting off cooperation between local police and ICE, leading Sessions to threaten to withhold federal funds from several sanctuary cities, and possibly levy charges against their elected officials. President Trump himself said that sanctuary cities “put innocent Americans at the mercy of … hardened criminals.”
Which is all to say that the timing couldn’t be more perfect for a script about sanctuary cities. Cue those quick-thinking reps at Verve and Bellevue Productions, who just went out with the hot spec SANCTUARY CITY by Richmond Riedel.
The story is set against the backdrop of an aggressive, politically-motivated deportation raid where members of ICE clash with LAPD officers, which escalates into an explosively violent standoff in East Los Angeles.
Riedel is no stranger to urban crime thrillers involving cops, having previously written Body Cam. Described as a cross between Get Out and End of Watch, that spec script sold to Paramount Players and just attached Malik Vitthal (Imperial Dreams) to direct.
Riedel is represented by David Boxerbaum and Nicky Mohebbi at Verve as well as manager Jeff Portnoy at Bellevue, and they did right by their client last time, getting him a mid-six figure deal for Body Cam. Only time will tell whether Sanctuary City strikes the same chord with buyers, but producers are already starting to fight for territories. Stay tuned…
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief