AC Independent, The Veterans Team on Franchise-Worthy, Sci-Fi Movie ‘House of Stairs’ Starring Jacob Tremblay; Wi Ding Ho Attached to Direct (EXCLUSIVE)
AC Independent and The Veterans have teamed up on the film adaptation of William Sleator’s cult 1974 science fiction novel “House of Stairs.” The elevated genre movie will star Jacob Tremblay (“Room,” “Good Boys”) and will be directed by Wi Ding Ho, whose 2018 movie “Cities of Last Things” won a prize at Toronto in the competitive Platform section. “House of Stairs”‘s film adaptation is penned by Matthew McInerney-Lacombe (“ICBM”).
Set in a dystopian America in the near future, the high-concept film follows five 16-year-old orphans who wake up to find themselves in a strange building with no walls, no ceiling, and no floor: nothing but endless flights of stairs leading in every direction, seemingly infinite. To find an exit, the five teenagers must learn to deal with the others’ disparate personalities, the lack of privacy and comfort, their clear helplessness, and a machine that only feeds them under increasingly ominous situations.
More from Variety
Alice Rohrwacher on Working With Her Sister: 'We Always Tell Each Other the Truth, Even If It Hurts'
Celine Sallette's Debut 'Niki' About French-American Artist Niki de Saint-Phalle Boarded by Pulsar Content (EXCLUSIVE)
Urban Sales Boards Kleber Mendonça Filho's Cannes' Special Screening Film 'Pictures of Ghosts' (EXCLUSIVE)
Anonymous Content’s recently launched sales and finance division, AC Independent, and The Veterans, will oversee international sales for the movie which boasts a strong franchise potential.
Domestic sales will be handled by AC Independent, The Veterans, and UTA Independent Film Group. Elevation Pictures will distribute the film in Canada.
“William Sleator’s books have inspired generations of young readers. We are honored to be taking ‘House of Stairs,’ the first adaptation of his work, to the big screen. With Wi Ding Ho’s cinematic vision, and Matthew McInerney-Lacombe’s screenplay, building on the ever-expanding universe of Sleator’s novel, we have a vehicle to thrill and entertain,” said Michael Solomon and Alexis Perrin in a joint statement on behalf of Band With Pictures and Rumble Fish. “We also look forward to casting the next generation of talents around Jacob Tremblay,” they added.
Nick Shumaker and Noëmie Devide in a joint statement on behalf of Anonymous Content and The Veterans,” said “House of Stairs” “builds on a lineage of Orwellian inspired YA stories from ‘Lord of the Flies’ to ‘Hunger Games.’
“We are excited to begin to explore the vast universe of ‘The House of Stairs’ with this first film, and see Wi Ding expand his world building tableau to present this visionary story to worldwide audiences, young and old,” they continued.
Slated to start shooting in Canada later this year, “House of Stairs” is produced by Michael Solomon on behalf of Band With Pictures (“My Animal,” “Black Conflux”), Alexis Perrin for Rumble Fish (“Vesper,” “Cities of Last Things,” “Revenge”), and Benoit Roland for 10.80 Films (“Vesper,” “The Hole in the Ground,” “Annette”). Shumaker, David Levine, and Garrett Kembell will executive produce the project on behalf of Anonymous Content alongside Devide, Kim Fox, and Vincent Maraval for The Veterans, and Adrian Love and Jeremy Smith for Elevation Pictures.
Tremblay garnered international recognition for his breakout performance opposite Brie Larson in the Oscar-nominated film “Room” directed by Lenny Abrahamson. The movie earned Tremblay a Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review, a Critics’ Choice Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Young Actor, and a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role by the Screen Actors Guild, among other accolades, for his performance in the film.
Tremblay went on to star in Stephen Chbosky’s B.O. hit, “Wonder,” based on the New York Times best-selling novel by R.J. Palacio and Universal Pictures’ “Good Boys,” produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Gene Stupnitsky. Most recently, he voiced the title role in the Pixar film, “Luca,” which was nominated for Best Animated film at the 2022 Academy Awards. Up next, Tremblay will be seen in the Legendary film “The Toxic Avenger,” playing the son of Peter Dinklage; and in Appian Way’s feature film, “Queen of Bones” with Julia Butters.
Wi Ding, meanwhile, broke through the international film stage with his short film “Respire,” which bowed at Cannes’ Critics Week in 2005 and won Best Fantasy Short Film at Sitges festival. The film depicted a distant future where people were required to wear masks by law because of an airborne virus – a frightening prediction of the Covid-19 pandemic 15 years later.
Wi Ding’s last feature film “Terrorizers” world premiered at Toronto and opened the Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival, where it garnered five nominations.
His other notable credits include “Cities of Last Things” which, on top of winning a prize at Toronto, was the Opening Film of the 2018 Singapore International Film Festival. His debut feature film “Pinoy Sunday” was funded and supported by Japanese broadcaster NHK and also had its world premiere at Toronto. Domestically, “Pinoy Sunday” made headlines in Taiwanese cinema for the fact that its main language was not Mandarin and that it starred two non-Taiwanese actors. The movie won Wi Ding the Best New Director award at the Golden Horse Awards.
McInerney-Lacombe, who penned the script, is an Irish Canadian screenwriter based in Montreal, whose works have have been featured on the Blacklist and currently has ICBM, a grounded nuclear disaster film, set up with Temple Hill, as well as “Baby Jane,” set up with Corporate Witchcraft.
Tremblay is represented by UTA, Play Management, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. McInerney-Lacombe is represented by Band With Pictures.
Best of Variety
Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.