Vertical Secures US Rights to Thriller HE WENT THAT WAY Starring Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto Out of Tribeca

is passenger is a young, cunning serial killer. With a screenplay penned by Evan M. Wiener, the film stars Jacob Elordi (Saltburn, Priscilla), Zachary Quinto (the Star Trek franchise), and Patrick J. Adams (Suits).

He Went That Way had its world premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Vertical will release the film exclusively in theaters in early 2024.

Set in 1964, this wicked spin on the buddy road trip film follows 19-year-old serial killer Bobby (Elordi) as he is picked up by a celebrity animal handler, Jim (Quinto), on a desolate stretch of Route 66 with priceless cargo in tow: his chimpanzee, Spanky, an American TV darling. As stress between them rises and their fiery personalities combust, the road only becomes more treacherous the farther they go.

He Went That Way is based on the true crime story of celebrity animal trainer Dave Pitts and his famous TV chimp, Spanky, centerpiece of the traveling entertainment show, The Ice Capades, and his fateful three-day encounter with the serial killer Larry Lee Ranes. The film is inspired by Conrad Hilberry’s book “Luke Karamazov” and the real-life account from Dave Pitts, the sole survivor of Ranes’ killing spree.

The film is produced by Marc Benardout, Hugh Broder, Jeremy L Kotin, James Harris and Mark Lane of Teashop Productions. Along with Quinto and Elordi, executive producers include Phil Hunt of Head Gear Films and Bohemia Media, Medha Jaishankar, Compton Ross, Ananyaa Shah, Lisa Broder, Richard Broder and Lawrence August.

The producing team stated, “We were so thrilled by the audience response at Tribeca and delighted that Vertical will be bringing this story to theaters. It’s been an eighteen-year journey to bring this story to life and now stands as a legacy to our director, the late Jeffrey Darling, who passed away during post-production. Jacob and Zachary brought such an intensity and smart approach to the characters in a story steeped in instinct, infatuation, and incident.”

Vertical’s Partner Peter Jarowey commented, “We were enthralled by Jacob and Zachary’s gritty chemistry when we watched the film at Tribeca and knew immediately this would be a story audiences would find captivating. We look forward to working with Mister Smith on another collaboration, as we did on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Hating Game, and building upon the success of He Went That Way together.”

Vertical’s Jarowey and SVP of Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical; Mister Smith’s CEO David Garrett and VP International Sales & Distribution Shane Kelly negotiated the deal on behalf of the production.