Locally Shot Film Sees Light of Day (Probably)—There's been plenty of talk lately about films being shot here in New Mexico thanks to recent state tax incentives. So far, not many of these films have seen the light of day, however. One of those films, the serial killer thriller Suspect Zero, was shot in and around Albuquerque all the way back in the summer of 2002. Now, it looks like the long-delayed film will finally hit theaters late this summer. Paramount Pictures announced last week that the film would be released on Friday, August 27.
Directed by E. Elias Merhige (Shadow of the Vampire) and starring the likes of Aaron Eckhart (Erin Brockovich), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) and Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), the film tells the story of an FBI agent tracking down a mysterious serial killer who seems to prey on other serial killers. The script was once considered a hot property in Hollywood, but ended up bouncing around several studios and stars (Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise all expressed interest at one time or another in starring). Eventually, Cruise produced the film, but declined to star.
The film's budget was set at a low $27 million, $7.5 million of which was provided by the state of New Mexico in the form of a no-interest loan. In return, the state gets 2.5 percent of the gross box office until it makes $90 million, at which point the state gets 3 percent. It seems fairly unlikely, however, that the film will turn a profit. It's clear that the once-hot script was heavily rewritten (and subsequently trashed on Internet discussion groups). Add to this the fact that the film's release has been delayed at least twice and is now being dumped into the notoriously soft end-of-summer season, and you've got the profile of a film that isn't exactly inspiring confidence in its distributor.
We'll see, in any case, when the film hits theaters in August. ... We hope.