Spec Script Sale: "Safe House"

February 9th, 2010 by

In a bidding war, Universal Pictures snags thriller spec “Safe House” from first-timer David Guggenheim. Per the LA Times blog “24 Frames”:

Talk to anyone in Hollywood and they’ll tell you that the process of getting an original movie sold or made these days is about as easy as getting Sarah Palin to keep mum at a Tea Party convention.Which is why it’s eye-catching that David Guggenheim, an Us magazine editor with no previous screenwriting experience, has just stirred a bidding war with a spec script (that is, an original script and idea that was written unsolicited by a studio or producer and isn’t based — thank God — on any prior piece of material) that he wrote in pretty much three months flat.

The movie is called “Safe House,” and it’s a story of a young U.S. intelligence agent in charge of a safe house in a tumultuous part of South America. Soon after a prisoner is brought in, the house is attacked, and the agent and the prisoner must go on the run across the treacherous Latin landscape — think “Collateral” and ‘The Bourne Identity” with a Che Guevara twist.

Guggenheim may technically be a first-timer, but…

Guggenheim comes from Hollywood royalty — his brother Marc is writing “The Green Lantern’ and his brother Eric was a writer on the Olympic hockey film “Miracle.” But he’s a senior editor based in New York with few prior Hollywood connections (he recently signed with the agency APA and the management company Madhouse Entertainment). In fact, he just picked up the pen in the fall, motivated to finish a screenplay before his wife gave birth to their first child (she’s due next week — so he made his deadline).

Set a deadline – and met it. Mid-six-figure deal should translate into a nice crib for the baby.

6 thoughts on “Spec Script Sale: "Safe House"

  1. Jonathan says:

    That's great for David Guggenheim, but to call him a first-timer with no real Hollywood connections is disingenuous. That's like saying Jason Reitman had no "in" or that Sofia Coppola came from nowhere to make The Virgin Suicides. If it's really true that he landed this deal, having never written anything before (not even scripts sitting in drawers) and after writing what must have been a first-draft in three months, and with zero assistance from his A-List brother or their agents, then good for him. Sounds like there a bit of the story missing, though.

  2. Alissa says:

    I agree with Jonathan. I mean this is awesome for David, and it's nice to see something other than a completely derivative sequel selling, but this guy has some pretty good connections.

  3. Überpossum says:

    What they said.

  4. Jeff says:

    Jeez I'm just impressed that he got his draft in under the wire…

    I had hoped to finish off a major script project prior to the birth of my twins last year, just around this time…

    Little stinkers showed up early!!!

    Anyone wanna' buy a screenplay without a third act???

  5. Screenwriter Chic says:

    Any spec that gets noticed is a feat, much less one that starts a bidding war! I hope the story's as good as its hype!

    …I hope I know someone who knows this guy….ha ha!

  6. […] Guggenheim broke into the business in February 2010 by selling the spec script Safe House which was produced and has grossed $208M worldwide. Since that time, Guggenheim has sold two more […]

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