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Elijah Wood clicks on Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows

EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch launches international sales on Spanish director’s English-language debut which began shooting on a high-security set in Madrid this week.

Elijah Wood [pictured] has boarded Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo’s first English-language picture Open Windows, an innovative, high-tech suspense thriller unfolding on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet.

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Shooting began this week on a high-security set in Madrid. It is Vigalondo’s third feature after the 2008 time-travelling tale Timecrimes and Extraterrestrial, a hit on the fantasy film festival circuit over the past 12 months.

Wild Bunch, which is co-producing the Spanish-French picture with Madrid-based Enrique López Lavigne and Belen Ateinza’s Apaches Entertainment and Antena 3 Film, is launching sales on the film at the AFM. Elijah Wood’s production company Woodshed, Basque broadcaster ETB and Canal Plus are associated partners.

“Open Windows develops in real time, delivering 90 minutes of suspense in a tense, fast-paced, high-tech thriller with action and terror, updating the key elements of 70s paranoid thrillers through today’s computer and online environment,” said Wild Bunch sales chief Vincent Maraval.

The plot revolves around a desperate search by Wood’s character for an actress, played by The Girlfriend Experience lead Sasha Grey, who has been abducted by vicious villain Chord, played by British actor Neil Maskell.

“Just as in Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, the girl is captured. The hero will have to use every means at his disposal to discover where she is, and rescue her from the villain before its too late,” said Vigalondo. 

The director began developing the picture three years ago with Apaches Entertainment and his own production company Sayaka.

“The action will be followed on the screen of a laptop connected to the Internet – an approach that has excited us all from the outset. Something like this means going beyond high concept films like Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield or Chronicle,” he said. “Instead of simulating a home video camera, we will be representing a computer desktop. The movie screen becomes a computer screen, and the spectator becomes the protagonist of this adventure.”

Spanish producer Lavigne revealed the production would use 12 different types of camera, including webcams, head cameras, tablets, mobile phones, 3D mapping cameras as well as security and satellite cameras to shoot the multi-format picture.

“Open Windows is full of twists, but it’s essentially a 90-minute chase, a continuous climax with unrelenting tension… it is also a powerful viral tool, with a wide potential for different audiences,” he said.  

Vigalondo approached Wood to play the lead after a chance meeting at the Fantastic Fest in Austin in 2011.

“I’ve wanted to work with Nacho since I first saw Timecrimes and his incredible short films,” said Wood. “We got to know one another at Fantastic Fest in Austin and when he approached me with this project, truly one of the most unique and exciting films I’ve ever encountered, I leapt at the chance to be a part of it.”

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