I’m a huge fan of The Door in the Floor (2004) starring this year’s best actor Oscar winner Jeff Bridges. It was directed by Tod “Kip” Williams, who landed his second film by persuading author John Irving to sell him the rights to A Widow for One Year for a dollar, and then wrote a script that Bridges fell in love with, even though he didn’t care for Williams’ first film.
That was The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, which cost a mere $350,000 and starred a then-unknown Adrien Grenier as a teenager dealing with his transsexual step-father. (Oddly, when Paramount Classics’ David Dinerstein and Ruth Vitale walked out of the first Sundance screening of The Blair Witch Project in January 1999 because they had to attend their film, Sebastian Cole, they lost out on the movie that inspired Paranormal Activity in the first place.)
Now Williams has landed his first directing job since Door in the Floor, Paranormal Activity 2. He’s a terrific, finicky writer-director with an indie sensibility, and that’s clearly what Oren Peli is looking for–as well as a controllable director who isn’t too expensive. The studios really are looking to cut costs these days.