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Colin Bannon, LG grad, sells script to Netflix ‘high six figures’

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Colin Bannon, 34, has sold First Ascent, a horror script with a mountain climbing theme and supernatural aspects, to Netflix for a price the Hollywood website Deadline calls “the high six figures.”

Colin Bannon

“It was two weeks of madness,” the 2003 Lake George grad told The Chronicle in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles.

“Mostly it was happening without me. I’m not involved in negotiations. But I’d get a call: ‘The script is in this movie star’s hands, with this head of studio, this director is looking at it.’ I mean, I just made this stuff [the script] up and — what the hell? It’s weird.”

Deadline, touting the story on Monday as Exclusive!, exclaimed, “In a last fevered auction before the holidays, Netflix prevailed and paid high six figures for First Ascent, a genre script by Colin Bannon with a female lead set in the world of mountain climbing.”

Deadline’s Mike Fleming, Jr., wrote, “There were eight bids on the table — some with acting or director attachments….” Then, “Netflix put a big offer on the table with a ticking clock,” and the deal closed “right before” it was to expire.

Producers include Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free. Jake Scott, Ridley’s son and himself a mountain climber, is slated to direct.

First Ascent is about a free solo climber who, two years after a near-fatal accident, returns with a film crew to document her attempt at a yet-unclimbed 4,000-foot rock wall in China.

Dubbed a “genre” script, the horror or psychological thriller movie features supernatural elements as well.

Six months ago Colin sold another script, Holdout, to Netflix, also with Scott Free on board. It’s about a woman who refuses to leave her home when a hurricane is about to hit, Mr. Bannon said.

He said a third film, called The Interventionist, became a turning point in his career when it was included on the 2018 Black List, deemed Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. It, too, incorporates supernatural elements in a story about a family and their drug-addicted daughter.

Colin said, “It’s all still in the very beginning stages. It could be next year before they start filming.”

He said he’s currently receiving producer’s notes and doing rewrites on Hold Out. Once that’s done, he’ll go right into the same for First Ascent.

“It’s a lot,” he says. “I am very happy to collaborate with these producers.” He says he doesn’t only do horror — and in fact, has a comedy he’s shopping out — “but I’m on a roll with the horror, and it’s so much fun writing it. There are no rules except the rules you write, and there are all the metaphors. You can kind of sneak in more elevated themes.”

Colin says his success has been a decade in the making, “but I have started to click here….It does take that much time. I call it a war of attrition.”

“I’ve been working at the craft, writing and filmmaking since I got here,” he says.

He moved to L.A. shortly after Love Conquers Paul conquered Glens Falls. He filmed the romantic comedy, his first feature, here in 2007; the final cut premiered at Crandall Public Library in 2009.

He says since then, he supported himself with a variety of gigs including as assistant to filmmaker Nick Cassavetes on two films, and as location manager on an Indiana Jones movie.

For the past year and a half, however, he’s been writing full-time “on a lot of projects.” He said, “I have a manager and an agent, and I’ve started to get fans around Hollywood,” through the Black List, among other notables, and also a similar compilation called The Hit List.

Colin, the son of Dr. David and Connie Bannon, said he came out to California “without too many expectations” — but “the dream was to direct.”

He says it is still his goal. “You get there through the writing,” he said.

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