STONYBROOK is the story of a teenager's confinement at a school for at-risk teens in 1974 and the charismatic, wily, OCCASIONALLY LUNATIC HEADMASTER WHO CHAMPIONS HIM.
The screenplay's journey began at NYU Film School where Warner Bros. awarded Alan Shapiro their prestigious studio SCHOLARSHIP and sent HIM TO HOLLYWOOD TO APPRENTICE FOR ACCLAIMED DIRECTOR KEN RUSSELL ON PADDY CHAYEFSKY’S ALTERED STATES. The studio’s investment paid off when Shapiro pitched the story and was signed to write and DIRECT.
Overnight, the finished screenplay became the subject of great interest by a Who’s Who of Hollywood. Leading actors found the headmaster character so compelling Shapiro met with a stream of top talent including kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Burt Reynolds, Sidney Poitier, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Jeff Bridges, Gene Hackman and others.
oscar-winning Producer Tony Bill (Best Picture, THE STING; TAXI DRIVER) signed on, along with veteran casting director Lynn Stalmaster (HAROLD & MAUDE, DELIVERANCE, TOOTSIE). Famed cinematographer Michael Balhaus (GOODFELLAS; THE DEPARTED) and editor Jerry Greenberg (THE FRENCH CONNECTION [Oscar]; APOCALYPSE NOW; SCARFACE) also joined the team.
IT WASNT LONG BEFORE STONYBROOK GOT THE GREEN LIGHT WITH ALAN BATES in the lead, AND THEN UNKNOWNS Jennifer Connelly (A BEAUTIFUL MIND) and Adam Horovitz (BEASTIE BOYS). But before cameras rolled, lightning struck. The preeminent star of the time, Dustin Hoffman, fell in love with the project. Suddenly Bates was out and Hoffman was in.
For months, Shapiro worked with Hoffman, tailoring the script to the exacting star. When a separate commitment forced Hoffman to delay, another casting change brought burt reynolds in to replace him. After yet more casting changes and a rotation of studio executives, stonybrook soon became one of the most famous unproduced screenplays in Hollywood and was featured in numerous magazines and books on Hollywood.
Determined not to let his passion project languish, Shapiro recently secured the rights from Warner Bros. to make the film independent of Hollywood, at a lower cost, with greater creative control over the process.
set at one rural location, free of expensive special effects, and featuring a young, largely unknown cast, stonybrook is an ideal vehicle for a low budget film, thereby increasing its profitability potential.
At the same time, the story’s lead is sure to attract the stars of today who are increasingly trading high fees for these kinds of quality dramas. stonybrook's track record of drawing top name talent and A-list crew promises to be a festival and box office winner.