EXCLUSIVE: Following a competitive bidding war, Universal Pictures has landed the rights to Marcus Kliewer’s short story The Caretaker with Sydney Sweeney attached to star and produce. Michael Bay and Brad Fuller will also produce through their Platinum Dunes banner along with Scott Glassgold through his Ground Control banner. Sweeney is producing through her Fifty-Fifty Films banner with her partner Jonathan Davino. Karl Gajdusek is adapting the script.
The package came together once word got out that like his previous short story, We Use to Live Here, The Caretaker drop on Reddit. We Use to Live Here sold to Netflix last year in huge deal and given his proven track-record building up interest in stories on the platform, the town soon got very interested in this latest story with producers reaching out before it could hit the site.
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Fuller and Sweeney recently sold the package The Registration to Sony and once Platinum boarded for Uni, Sweeney quickly attached to the package building momentum. Given how popular Sweeney has gotten among major studio execs, sources say as many as eight suitors were vying for the package with Universal ultimately coming in with a price tag in the low seven-figure range to win the auction. After parting ways fir a brief period, Bay and Fuller recently reunited and signed a first-look deal with Universal and this marks the first major package the producing duo delivered to the studio since signing the deal (Bay and Fuller are also producing Batshit for Universal but this would mark the first item they brought to studio).
The Caretaker tells the story of a young woman who accepts a caretaking job from Craigslist and quickly discovers her responsibilities have stakes far greater (and more dangerous) than she could have ever imagined. Executive VP of Production Matt Reilly and Creative Executive Jacqueline Garell will oversee the project on behalf of Universal.
Sweeney has quickly become one of the more sought after young stars following her breakout roles in the first season of HBO’s The White Lotus and the second season of Euphoria, both scoring her Emmy noms. During Euphoria‘s hiatus, Sweeney has done a nice job of building up her development slate and also building her profile as a producer. Besides this pic and The Registration, she is also attached to exec produce and star in a new Barbarella movie at Sony Pictures and has also also recently partnered with Endeavor Content to produce a TV adaptation of The Players Table.
She can be seen next in Marvel’s Madame Webb and also recently wrapped production on the Tony Tost film National Anthem, which also stars Simon Rex and Halsey, and she also has Reality.
As one of the industry’s most prolific creators, Bay has been responsible for enduring classics spanning his nearly four-decade career including The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys I & II and the blockbuster Transformers franchise. He is fresh off of his directorial outing with Universal, Ambulance, adding to his global total of more than $9.4 billion in ticket sales as director and producer.
Besides this and Batshit, Bay and Fuller are also producing several films in the A Quiet Place universe including a prequel at Paramount.
The always in-demand Gajdusek is best known for being the first season showrunner for Stranger Things and for penning the Tom Cruise starrer, Oblivion, and Mathew Vaughn’s The King’s Man.
The sale of The Caretaker marks the 5th recent short story sale for Ground Control & Verve including Nick Moorefox’s I Think My Mother-In-Law Wants to Kill Me to Sony’s 3000 Pictures, Matt & Harrison Query’s Wilderness Reform to Paramount & My Wife and I Bought a Ranch to Netflix.
Sweeney is repped by Paradigm and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Gajdusek is repped by Verve and Management 360. Fuller is represented by UTA and attorneys Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Kliewer is represented by Verve, Ground Control and Ashley Silver. Verve and Ashley Silver also represent Ground Control.
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