Movie-industry mammoth Artisan Entertainment continues to bank on Orlando as a source of box-office revenue. The company -- which last year brought Central Florida filmmaking into the limelight via its national release of The Blair Witch Project -- is reportedly finalizing its acquisition of "Waiting ..." a screenplay by local writer Rob McKittrick.
According to McKittrick, Artisan will pay a sum "well into the six figures" for the script, which he describes as "a perverted little comedy" about waiting tables for a living. Chris Moore, the producer of "American Pie" and co-producer of "Good Will Hunting," is likely to produce the feature for his Fusion Films.
The contract that is currently on the table does not guarantee McKittrick a job as the film's director, but is said to include a back-end arrangement for a percentage of the film's profits and a blind-development deal for his next script.
"It's more money than I've ever made in my life, times 10," McKittrick says of the sale, "but I'm actually sort of depressed." Those mixed emotions stem from a loss of the creative control that was his when "Waiting ..." was no more than a proposal for an independently filmed endeavor by McKittrick and his partner, Dean Shull.
Shull says he will receive "some form of producer's credit" on the finished film.
Production of the film is expected to begin in the summer, with its final budget to fall somewhere between $1.5 and $4.5 million. Although McKittrick and Shull had auditioned more than 100 Central Florida actors for their planned $30,000 version of the comedy, the writer professes high hopes that the top contenders will be called to reaudition for the Artisan/Fusion project. Shull says that an Orlando shoot is even a possibility.
If that happens, McKittrick will be working in Florida not as a resident, but as a visitor. Last Friday, he pulled up stakes and moved to the West Coast, finally abandoning the red-and-white stripes he until recently wore in his day job as a waiter at the TGI Friday's on East Colonial Drive. The research phase of his career was clearly over.