Nick Simon and Luke Baines, who worked together on the 2015 slasher movie The Girl in the Photographs, have re-teamed for a Hollywood-themed horror movie that was written during the pandemic and has already completed principal photography.
Simon directed from a script he co-wrote with Baines, who stars alongside Claire Holt (47 Meters Down), Darren Barnet (Never Have I Ever), Emmy Raver-Lampman (The Umbrella Academy), Katherine McNamara (Arrow) and Timothy Granaderos (13 Reasons Why), as well as Kevin Daniels (Sirens), newcomer Sohm Kapila and Kal Penn, who also co-starred in The Girl in the Photographs.
Randy Sinquefield’s Spectrum Studios financed the untitled film, which was produced by Bronwyn Cornelius (Clemency) and Marina Stabile (Beatriz at Dinner). Post-production is expected to wrap by early September, and CAA Media Finance is representing worldwide rights.
Simon’s movie is described as a tongue-in-cheek satire of Gen Z celebrity, show business, and the horror movie genre that explores the behind-the-scenes lives of moderately famous people who will do anything to save their careers. The story follows six actors whose hit TV show is on the brink of cancellation, so they decide to film their own horror movie. In search of a plot, they unintentionally summon a spirit with an affinity for violence, who starts picking them off — one vapid actor at a time. It’s told entirely via computer screens and found footage, per the filmmakers.
“I’ve always believed that film should be a collaborative art form, and I don’t think there’s a truer example than with this picture. The actors did everything from lighting themselves — guided by our incredible DP, Kevin Duggin — to recording their own sound and doing their own hair and makeup. As crazy as that could have been, it was easily one of the most enjoyable experiences in my professional life. It was one of those once in a lifetime moments when everything aligns at the exact right time,” said Simon, who was mentored by master of horror Wes Craven, and is currently developing a choose-your-own-adventure-style horror film with Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Partners.
“There’s a joke in the film that says: ‘The only people who say there’s creative freedom from making their own stuff are the ones who can’t get a studio to finance their movie.’ I want to publicly contradict myself and say I’ve never had more fun or felt this amount of space to take risks and make mistakes, although I do wholeheartedly miss having a full crew,” said Baines. “I think I speak for the rest of the actors when I say we’ve never had more respect for each and every department.”
In addition to The Girl in the Photographs, Simon also directed The Pyramid for Fox, while Baines’ credits include Shadowhunters and Under the Silver Lake. The striking-looking actor was also once cast as David Bowie in a David Fincher TV series that I would kill to watch one day.