In 1971, a professor at Stanford University named Philip Zimbardo conducted an infamous psychological experiment on the psychology of incarceration. The experiment involved volunteers playing the roles of guards and inmates while living in a mock prison. It didn't take long for this test to degenerate into chaos -- the "inmates" of the experiment staged an uprising in response to physical, mental and even sexual torture they had experienced. In the end, the experiment was shut down prematurely, but it did manage to demonstrate how impressionable we all are when provided with a legitimate reason for inflicting distress on another person. More importantly, it was a scary example of the power of authority.

Variety has announced that the film version depicting the Stanford Prison Experiment has attached a director. Christopher McQuarrie will helm the real-life drama for Maverick Films this April. Although credited with writing the screenplay for The Usual Suspects, McQuarrie has only directed one film so far -- unfortunately, that film was The Way of The Gun. Maverick films have also bought the rights to Zimbardo's book The Lucifer Effect - Understanding How Good People Turn Evil , which doesn't hit the shelves until March.

The timing for the film couldn't be better, with questions of torture and cruelty in the news on a regular basis – hey, it could even be shown as a double bill with Errol Morris' new film. Whaddya think?

[via Dark Horizons]