Friedkin Options Rights to Direct Film of Letts' Bug

News   Friedkin Options Rights to Direct Film of Letts' Bug Director William Friedkin has optioned the rights to Bug, the Tracy Letts play now enjoying a hit run Off-Broadway.

Letts will write the screenplay. Friedkin hopes to begin filming in New Mexico later this year. The play is set in a hotel room in Oklahoma.

Friedkin is the director of the classic early '70s films "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist," though his output since then has been erratic.

Letts laces Bug with a pervading sense of paranoia, which has struck a resonant chord in audiences grown accustomed to governmental secrecy and the creeping dread of terrorism. Agnes, a lonely woman of 44, has holed herself up in a hotel room to escape the attentions of her violent ex-con husband. When Peter, a Gulf War veteran who "picks up on things others don't," pays a visit, she invites him to stay, and thus opens a Pandora's Box of perceived government plots, conspiracy theories and a mysterious (and symbolic) infestation of microscopic insects.

The nervy Off-Broadway play welcomed two new cast members on June 8. Paul Sparks replaced Michael Shannon in the role of Peter, and Michael Canavan assumed the part of Dr. Sweet.

Still left from the original cast are Shannon Cochran and Michael Cullen. Dexter Bullard directs. The show began on Feb. 26 at the Barrow Street Theatre. The open-ended run received some of the best reviews of the season and went on to collect four Lucille Lortel Awards including Best Play and Best Direction and OBIE Awards for both the Ensemble and the Design Team.

Scott Morfee's co-produces with Amy Danis and Mark Johannes.