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Reddit NoSleep Writer Sells Short Story to Netflix in Massive Auction, and Jessica Chastain Will Star

The bidding war for the project is the latest example of genre writers finding alternative paths to break into the film industry.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain

Getty Images

Even the weekend of Hollywood’s biggest party couldn’t stop film industry dealmakers from fighting over the latest horror project. “I Am Not Alone,” a new horror film that’s set to star Jessica Chastain, became the subject of a heated bidding war before reportedly landing at Netflix.

The project, which will be directed by “Lovecraft Country” creator Misha Green, is based on a short story by fiction writer Chris Hicks. The mysterious story centers around a mother who begins to hallucinate deadly creatures when she suffers from migraines.

It marks the first major Hollywood project for the writer, who is best known for writing viral horror stories on the NoSleep subreddit. (And it’s the latest example of horror artists finding alternative paths to break into the industry). After spending years building up a following in the online horror fiction community, he’s now branching out into feature films and novels — without losing touch with the perfectionism that made him a successful short writer in the first place.

In an interview with IndieWire, Hicks and his manager Peter Katz (who is also producing the film through his company, Story Driven) said that they spent three years developing the idea into the perfect short story. They compared the process to crafting a pop song, explaining that the margin for error is nonexistent when working in such a short medium.

The final version of the story — which Netflix is planning to purchase outright in a six-figure deal — was not posted to Reddit. But Hicks credited his experience posting short stories on the site with helping him build his screenwriting career.

“It’s a different pathway,” Hicks said of his success on the platform. “There are people who have had success there, obviously I’ve found some success there. It’s just one path. Especially recently, I know [producer Scott Glassgold, who has turned a number of Reddit stories into major film packages] has had some success picking stories off Reddit and bringing them to the Hollywood front. I think there has been some attention on it for a while, and I think it’s been kind of a breeding ground for writers to cut their teeth on telling very engaging short stories in a quick manner. It’s a competitive field, so the faster you can attract somebody’s attention and hook them in, the better off you’ll be. So it’s a viable path, but it’s definitely just one path.”

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