EXCLUSIVE: In one of the first big spec sales following the resolution of the WGA strike, Ben Ketai’s script Undying has sold to Netflix for development under its first-look feature deal with Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps.
Deadline hears that the deal was for mid-six against seven figures. 21 Laps brought the project in to Netflix, and Levy, Dan Cohen, and Dan Levine are set to produce for the company, with Moera Ainai overseeing. Ketai will serve as executive producer.
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Netflix declined comment.
Described as an erotic thriller with a supernatural twist, Undying follows a woman, suffocated by motherhood, who has an affair with a man she hasn’t seen since high school… only to discover a terrifying secret.
Prior to the sale, Ketai had most recently wrote and directed River Wild, a reimagining of Uni’s same-name 1994 thriller. Starring Leighton Meester, Taran Killam and Adam Brody, the film spent a number of weeks in Netflix’s Top 10 when it made its way to the streamer. Ketai also created, wrote, directed and served as showrunner for StartUp, a crime drama series starring Adam Brody, Martin Freeman, Edi Gathegi and more, which found a substantial audience on Netflix after running on Crackle for three seasons.
Ketai sold three pilots prior to this year’s double strike. The scribe on a hot streak is currently writing an untitled Mexican Basketball Project for FX and adapting the bestseller Unthinkable for Toluca Pictures and MGM.
Prior to the WGA strike, 21 Laps boarded Seismic, another thriller for Netflix based on a spec. In addition to that film penned by Mortal Kombat‘s Greg Russo, others announced earlier in the year included its horror pic The Backrooms, to be produced alongside Atomic Monster and Chernin Entertainment for A24, as well as the horror Gnomes, based on the short from Dutch filmmakers Richard Raaphorst and Ruwan Heggelman.
Also the producer on Lionsgate’s forthcoming Halle Berry thriller Never Let Go, 21 Laps earlier this year hit theaters with The Boogeyman, Rob Savage’s take on the Stephen King short story, which was released by 20th Century Studios. Up next for release is All the Light We Cannot See, a WWII limited series based on Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which debuts on Netflix November 2nd.
21 Laps founder Levy is also the director and producer of the anticipated Deadpool 3, which sources tell Deadline has been forced to push back from its May 3, 2024 release date amidst the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
Ketai is repped by Writ Large, Independent Artist Group, and Felker Toczek Suddleson.
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