Jason Bateman is in negotiations to direct the New Line thriller Shut In from first-time scribe Melanie Toast, Collider has learned.
The contained story, which has drawn comparisons to Panic Room, follows a single mother who is held captive by her violent ex. Her two small children are left alone in a dangerous situation, and she must do everything to protect them and survive.
Dan Farah, Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Cinestate’s Dallas Sonnier are producing alongside Bateman and Michael Costigan of Aggregate Films. Cinestate’s Amanda Presmyk and Danielle Cox will executive producers along with Vertigo’s Miri Yoon, and Andrew Farah of Farah Films. Richard Brener, Daria Cercek and Josh Mack will oversee the project for New Line. Production is expected to start early next year.
Sonnier acquired Shut In as a spec script after discovering Toast via The Blood List, and while he initially planned to self-finance the project as an indie, his fellow producers Farah and Lee managed to ignite a studio bidding war that was eventually won by New Line. Toast is already writing another script for the studio and producer James Wan, as well as one for Miramax and producer Eli Roth.
Bateman previously directed Bad Words and The Family Fang, and he next stars in the HBO series The Outsider, based on the novel by Stephen King. Bateman had been developing a feature adaptation of Clue, but that project conflicted with his Netflix series Ozark, so Shut In is shaping up to be his next directorial effort. He’s represented by CAA.