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
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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