Universal wins bidding war to acquire spy drama “Section 6” written by Aaron Berg. Via THR:
Universal has come out on top in the bidding war for Section 6, the hot spec script by Aaron Berg that jolted the market this week.
While all the studios were in the mix, including high-profile producers such as David Heyman and Mary Parent, it came down to Sony and Universal by late in the day Friday. The script went out earlier in the week, sending execs into a frenzy since companies were not allowed to immediately bid on it.
By midnight, Universal was the winner, paying $1.2 million against $2 million with a progress to production set in motion after a rewrite step. Marc Platt and Adam Siegel are on board to produce with Lawrence Grey.
The script tells a compelling story that isn’t at all dry and dusty. The focus is Sir Mansfield Cummings, the storied Brit spymaster who was the inspiration for James Bond’s boss M. In 1919, his intelligence section, called Section 1C, was going to be folded into MI5, which is similar to our FBI in that it focuses on domestic threats. Spies coming through 1C all came from Oxford and Cambridge, aristocrats who stuck out like sore thumbs., Cummings got hold of a blue collar war veteran, trained him and sent him on a crucial mission: an attack on the British embassy in Russia (in which is now St. Petersberg) led to the theft of coded assassination orders signed by the King of England. The spy was tasked with recovering them because had they been discovered, WWII would have begun with those countries on opposite sides. Cummings etched his place in history and proved the need for MI6. The script was unusual in that is was peppered with actual newspaper clippings from the period to inform of how the stories were covered by British papers back then.
This is a deal reminiscent of the go-go spec script market days of the late 80s and early 90s: multiple buyers bidding on a script with zero stars attached, the strength of the script’s concept, in-demand genre, and execution enough to generate a seven-figure deal. Plus this: Aaron Berg is a first-timer.
Berg is repped by Verve and Caliber Media.
By my count, this is the 68th spec script sale of 2013.