After the most audacious real life rip off of Hollywood fiction ever dared, it looks like Alexander Pichushkin’s homage to the Hollywood greats will be capped with his sentencing on Halloween day. Pichushkin’s fate is about as uncertain as Kevin Spacey’s (circa big-bad-Brad-Pitt-gets-pretty-young-thing's-head-in-a-box) and it brings a fittingly ghoulish close to a tale of depravity not heard since the Rostov Ripper story aired on the Biography Channel.
We can only hope the struggle at New Line Cinema doesn’t end with as much bloodshed.
Pichushkin was convicted on October 24th of 48 counts of murder. The killer himself, however, insists it was actually 63 dead.
This has led to a well-publicized feud between New Line founder Robert Shaye and his co-chairman and co-CEO, Michael Lynne, threatening a split at the storied firm. Shaye has reportedly sided with his President of Marketing, Chris Carlisle, in arguing that the film would play better as a sequel to se7en if they went with the official body count… plus one. Their camp argues that Pichushkin’s death at the hands of the state is a classic case of ‘automurder’, which pushes the number of dead to 49—and makes the story the perfect follow-up to David Fincher’s 1995 blockbuster. Expect something like “Seven Sq49red” if they win the argument.
Lynne, however, is reported as scoffing, “You never turn down a body.” He and Jim Rosenthal, President of New Line Television, argue that 64 is a “slam dunk number.”
The two deny needing to pilfer Andrew Kevin Walker’s plot twist to make up the numbers. “You can take that up with Pichushkin,” Rosenthall quipped to reporters. “I think we can all agree he murdered himself… along with those 63 others.”
Lynne has been unusually vocal in his insistence that New Line go with something “in the vein of Knight Moves”, which he had an uncredited role in directing with close friend and confidant Carl Schenkel.
Pichushkin’s agents point out that the Russian media is already calling their client the ‘Chessboard Killer’ (after claims that he'd hoped to fill the squares of a chessboard with a coin for every victim). “Chess is deeply ingrained in the Russian psyche. Mr. Pichushkin would never have stopped at a number like 49.” They add, “It’s simply not Russian.”
Pichushkin was unavailable for comment.
Lynne, however, wasn’t finished: “They wanna make it a F****ing sequel? They can call it ‘(seven plus one)… squared.’”
Then he warned,
“If we go half-assed on this thing it’ll stink worse than that Jim Carey crapola.”