Imagine that it is a cold, January night in Greenwich Village. It is your birthday, and you are walking down the road, heading home from a blind date when a group of young thugs hold you at gunpoint and push you into a car. In a Brooklyn apartment, you're held captive while the group decides how to gain the most from your kidnapping -- they wanted a grand, but are excited to hear that you have much more than that in the bank. You hand over your ATM number and pin, but you also get a lot in return. Intermingled with threats of violence and requests for legal advice, you get offers of pot and sexual favors, since it is your birthday and all. After 25 hours being held captive, they give you some cab fare and dump you off in Prospect Park.

Sounds like a mixture of comedy and fright, doesn't it? This is the story of Stanley Alpert, an assistant U.S. attorney, who wrote an account of his night in 1998 in the just-published book, The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival. Only weeks after hitting the shelves, United Artists has optioned it. Beating out a number of other studios, it is one of the first possible features to be grabbed by the company since Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner joined. As Variety suggests, it could go either way -- as a comedy or a drama. Personally, I think they'd be doing us, and the story, a disservice to not relish the comedy in this story. There's lots of strange, thriller kidnapping stories out there, but how many times does one get a real story where the kidnappee gets offered sexual birthday presents by the same people trying to wipe out his bank account?
categories Movies, Cinematical