Spec Script Sale: “Bloodshot”

March 1st, 2012 by

Sony acquires action spec script “Bloodshot” from writer Jeff Wadlow and the underlying rights to the 90s Valiant Comic series that is the inspiration for the screenplay. From Deadline:

The protagonist is Angelo Mortalli, a ruthless killer for the mob who is set up by the family and framed for a murder. He instead goes into Witness Protection, but is betrayed by an FBI agent guarding him, kidnapped and forcibly subjected to an experimental program in which his body is injected with microscopic computers called nanites. They erase his brain and rebuild it and his body to be a weapon with superhuman strength and healing powers. Bloodshot escapes his makers, and though he isn’t his old self, he tries to figure out who he was. Things get bad for everybody who betrayed him.

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The WME-repped Wadlow got this through his own entrepreneurial spunk. He loved the comic, and made an agreement with Valiant and Original Film to write it on spec. They showed it to Sony, where [Neal] Moritz has his deal. The studio bought it.

That is showing some initiative: Tracking down the owners of a 90s era comic book franchise, convincing them to let you write a screenplay based on the material, then writing the script on spec. Paid off handsomely for Wadlow: Deadline reports the deal is worth “$450,000 against $1 million.”

Wadlow is repped by WME.

By my count, this is the 17th spec script sale of 2012.

Last year at this time, there had been 10 spec deals.

Sales are up 70% year-to-date over 2011.

Congratulations, Jeff Wadlow!

4 thoughts on “Spec Script Sale: “Bloodshot”

  1. CJ says:

    I always hold out hope for any good action/adventure movie, but this summary leaves me wondering where the character arc is. He goes from a ruthless killing machine to … a ruthless killing machine. I think stories work better when the protagonist transforms into something opposite of himself. Like a nebbishy high-schooler gaining superhuman spider powers.

    Also, the summary says Bloodshot’s main goal is to figure out who he was, but the problem from a story standpoint is there’s no mystery there for the audience: We already know who he was. So we’re twiddling our thumbs waiting for him to catch up to us in terms of knowledge. Sometimes, a situation like that, where you’re two steps ahead of the main character as he finds things out, just results in boredom.

    Congratulations to the writer. It’s a great achievement to sell a script. I just hope these items don’t become issues when he … Goes Into the Story.

    1. Scott says:

      Reading the tea leaves, CJ, while Bloodshot may have had an audience back in the 90s, that is two decades ago. And to my knowledge, there has not been this ginormous clamor to bring back the character. So while there is some pre-awareness value to the title, not a whole lot.

      Therefore for Sony to drop potentially 7 figures for a spec script and underlying rights to source material, I’m guessing the script has to be at least pretty good. Generally that means the story works well enough for the studio to feel like it plus concept warrants the $$.

      Maybe somebody has read the script and will provide some feedback [I haven't gotten it yet].

      But your points are duly noted and show good instinct for what NOT to do in a script.

      Also, too, remember who is writing these summaries, typically NOT writers, so rarely have a clue what ‘story’ is.

  2. CJ says:

    Very true. Sometimes you have to trust the money.

  3. Or it could be that execs are of the age that they actually remember collecting these :)

    Bloodshot came out at the height of the comicbook industry, just before the massive crash in the early 90s.

    On the flipside though — Bloodshot and XO Manowar were really the properties that propped up Valiant as a publisher. There’s definitely a fanbase out there.

    I never followed the book. One of the few that I didn’t during that time. Probably for the same reasons the commenter above is put off before even giving it a chance.

    BUT — plots do get recycled. THE PUNISHER story is a staple of 80s action films (family gets killed — guy goes on a murderous rampage) — Hell, it’s Death Wish also. But the name recognition is why one project my step forward when another similar “original” one falls into the shadows.

    I’d imagine pitching Bloodshot with a spec was actually easier than selling a spec with a similar story/plot. It’s just one of those things.

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