Sony Pictures and Joel Silver are teaming up for the feature film “The Dryland,” from screenwriter David Rothley.
The spec, an action thriller, follows a kidnapping and ransom negotiator tasked with finding a nine-year-old boy who went missing on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. After finding the boy, she must fight to keep them both alive when they come under attack by the very people who hired her — corrupt FBI agents and cold-blooded police officials who want the boy dead because of what he knows.
Rothley developed the script with indie producer Patrick Brennan, a founding member of Nine Dot Entertainment. Silver brought the script to Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch via his agents at WME, taking it off the table before it was shopped to the town, sources said. In early development stages, the project is still seeking star talent and a director.
Rothley earned an MFA in screenwriting from USC, and an MFA in creative writing fiction from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After grad school, he ran the story department at Relativity Media before working as an in-house staff writer for film, TV and digital media at VFX studio Digital Domain. Rothley was mentored by Oliver Stone.
He is represented by WME, Bellevue Productions and the law firm of Bruns, Brennan & Berry, PC. Silver last produced “SuperFly” with Columbia Pictures. He’s currently in pre-production on the third film in the “Sherlock Holmes” franchise, set to reunite Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law at Warner Bros.
Deadline first reported that Sony purchased a spec from Rothley.