In 1971 a group of researchers at Stanford University conducted an experiment about the human responses to captivity, where undergraduate volunteers filled the roles of guards and prisoners in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The following is a description from Wikipedia on how the experiment unfolded: "Prisoners and guards rapidly adapted to their assigned roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to genuinely dangerous and psychologically damaging situations. One-third of the guards were judged to have exhibited "genuine" sadistic tendencies, while many prisoners were emotionally traumatized and two had to be removed from the experiment early."
If this sounds familiar to some of you, it's because you A) are familiar with THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT, B) have seen the 2001 German film DAS EXPERIMENT (based on the SPE) or C) were one of the guards or prisoners in the actual experiment. Either way. a whole lot of people are about to get acquainted with the experiment-gone-afoul, because writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (THE WAY OF THE GUN) will be directing his own movie about the case, cleverly titled THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT. The movie already has about as solid a cast as you can ask for, with young studs such as Giovanni Ribisi, Paul Dano (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) Channing Tatum (STEP UP), Jessie Eisenberg (THE SQUID AND THE WHALE) and Kieran Culkin risking their sanity this time around. McQuarrie won the original screenplay Oscar for THE USUAL SUSPECTS and is a writer for the Brian Singer/Tom Cruise WWII thriller VALKYRIE Shooting starts this October, with the Stanford campus being used as a location.
||Phillip Zimbardo, head of the experiment, abandoned it earlier than planned after his colleague and romantic partner told him she didn't know if she could love a man who was doing what was doing.