Behind The Scenes
are one of the most exalted tradition-bound Ivy League College organizations.
These covert fraternal organizations have existed for almost 200 years and have
been the breeding ground for future presidents, senators and captains of
industry. Every year only the top one percent of every class is
"tapped" to become a
member of one of these exclusive societies. Admission is a virtual guarantee of
future success and the attachments between members is strong and enduring. Once
you're a member, you're a member for life.
is an original thriller that is rooted in undisputable facts that are more
frightening than any film. Writer John Pogue, who previously penned the Tommy
Lee Jones/Wesley Snipes-starrer U.S. Marshals, experienced secret
societies firsthand when he attended Yale University. Once, during his freshman
year, when John was speaking to a senior counselor, he asked him about a
mysterious pin he was wearing on the inside of his jacket.
him if he was a member of a secret society," Pogue recalls. "Without a
word he just turned on his heel and walked away. It was obvious to me that he
took this organization very seriously and was willing to put its interests ahead
of his responsibilities as a counselor."
From that moment
on Pogue was fascinated by the system that perpetuates such elitist secret
societies. In his senior year, he was "tapped," and couldn't resist
the opportunity to penetrate the inner sanctum of a secret society.
experience left him with mixed feelings. "Having gone through the process,
I can honestly say that there are good things about secret societies,"
Pogue recalls. "I believe, however, that it is an anachronistic system
which is more appropriate for the Robber Barons of the 19th century then for
After developing several other projects with producer Neal H. Moritz, Pogue
approached him about a thriller with a secret society as its center. He called
the script The Skulls.
immediately intrigued. "I loved the idea and really loved
the script," he comments. "I was attracted to the milieu, and the
characters were so compelling that I knew it would attract top young
completed a fruitful collaboration with director Rob Cohen on the
critically-acclaimed, award-winning HBO movie The Rat Pack, Moritz showed
him the script for The Skulls, and Cohen too was hooked.
obvious thriller elements, for Cohen The Skulls asked some very tough
questions about American society: Do we really live in a democracy or is there
an elite, ruling class that runs everything? And if they do, what price would
someone pay to become a member of the elite?
script was an exciting read," says Cohen. "I knew this Ivy League
world first-hand, and thought I could weave these wonderful characters into an
exciting, non-stop thriller that actually has something on its mind. My only
question to Neal (Moritz) was, 'When do we start?'"
The answer was
right away, since Moritz had recently put the finishing touches on a new
financial partnership with Newmarket Capital Group. The project was immediately
green-lit and pre-production commenced.
Both Moritz and
Cohen believed The Skulls was a
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