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About The Production
This fresh approach to the horror genre—the use of modem-day fables as the themes for the murders—originated with the scriptwriter, 24-year-old Silvio Horta, who began his screenwriting career in 1996 almost immediately after graduating from New York Univ

This fresh approach to the horror genre-the use of modem-day fables as the themes for the murders-originated with the scriptwriter, 24-year-old Silvio Horta, who began his screenwriting career in 1996 almost immediately after graduating from New York University Film School. Knowing what he wanted and where he needed to be, he moved to Los Angeles and within three months was signed by an agent.

After reading Horta's first script, the darkly comedic Even Exchange, manager/producer Gina Matthews tracked him down-surprisingly enough, at Nordstrom's, where Horta was earning money as a perfume spritzer. In a discussion with Matthews about future ideas, Horta suggested this simple gem: a movie about students being murdered based on urban legends. "Immediately, I knew that was the one to run with," Matthews recalls. "Together, we started from scratch and developed the story and the characters. We even went through all the books on urban legends and picked out the most frightening ones. After spending a few days rehearsing the pitch, we were ready to take it on the town."

When they brought the pitch to the attention of Neal H. Moritz and Brad Luff at Original Film, the producers loved it. "I wasn't looking to do another horror movie after I Know What You Did Last Summer," comments Moritz, "but on a conceptual level, the idea of Urban Legend was so good that it was too hard to pass up."

When the pitch was brought to Phoenix Pictures, the dynamic company founded by Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messer, it produced an equally enthusiastic response. "They loved the idea as much as we did," Moritz says-and they quickly struck a deal.

By August, Horta had begun work on the script. Matthews was greatly impressed with the way he eased into his role as a screenwriter. "He has a natural gift for dialogue and an instinct for real characters. You never feel like you are watching a movie because the characters are so genuine. It gave me the greatest joy to see how this young kid, who had no experience, worked and worked and worked and then just blossomed. It was remarkable."

By Christmas, executive producer Brad Luff explains, "We were green lit and looking for a director and starting to cast."

"Jamie Blanks came in after we had a script," Moritz explains. "I knew Jamie because when we did I Know What You Did Last Summer, I wanted to use a first-time director, and I had met a lot of young filmmakers. We loved Jamie's enthusiasm, and when he said he was going off to make a trailer, we never really thought about it again. We finally found the director we decided to hire, and a few days later I got a videocassette in the mail, and there was the trailer. And it was fantastic. I always kept Jamie in the back of my mind since seeing that tape. When this movie came up, he was actually the first director I sent the script to, and we were off to the races."

The unique feel of Urban Legend is part of the Moritz magic. "I felt that the only way to really give this genre a fresh spin was to give somebody new a chance to come at it at a different angle. I felt Jamie could do that. I saw all his commercials and music video work and I thought his visuals were very impressive-he has a great energy and passion for film."

With a track record of blockbuster

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