I may have detested Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay for Valkyrie, but I still have a very high regard for his screenwriting.  No matter how many times it’s been parodied or ripped off, The Usual Suspects still stands as one of the cleverest scripts of the 1990s, while The Way of the Gun is a very funny, very bloody hit man romp featuring an opening scene that has only grown more satisfying for some as Sarah Silverman has grown more popular (I like her, but, hey, who doesn’t love watching women get popped in the mouth?).  It’s just a shame that McQuarrie has been so infrequently produced; surely, he’s got a bevy of interesting projects waiting for a greenlight or independent financing.

So good for United Artists (i.e. Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner) for signing McQuarrie to a first-look deal, which will hopefully have him writing, directing and producing a variety of projects for the revived company.  I don’t think The Stanford Prison Experiment will be one of those titles (it’s set up with Maverick Films and Infinity Features), but perhaps UA will distribute McQuarrie’s take on the titular university’s calamitous, real-life study that examined the prisoner/prison guard power dynamic. 

The deal is non-exclusive, but it does indicate that UA is very happy with Valkyrie (even though the screenplay was depressingly formulaic, it has the potential for mainstream success).  I don’t know what this portends for McQuarrie’s 1.3.9 venture or if it’s even still in existence after the lengthy writers strike.  Probably best if that “appealing to stars’ vanity projects” collective goes away.