The Missing Screenwriter: Truth is Stranger than Fiction

“There are strange things that are taking place in this world” – Robert Hurley aka. “The Missing Screenwriter”

Robert Hurley wrote these words on his website before he disappeared and became “the Missing Screenwriter”. In this article, we will dive into the rabbit hole of The Missing Screenwriter – Robert Hurley’s case. Investigated and produced by Vitaly Sumin, The Missing Screenwriter is a docu-thriller-drama-neo-noir miniseries that has 19 episodes. Yet, rest assured, the investigation continues and there will be more episodes in the future. 

Born in 1982, Robert William Hurley followed his passion. He chose to be a screenwriter in the unsafe deep waters of Hollywood. He knew his style was unique. Hence, he collaborated with Vitaly Sumin, an award-winning director and producer. Sumin’s and Hurley’s common passion, classic literature, brought them together. They became good friends and they co-wrote Notes from the New World. However, a rumor spread that Hurley’s life inspired him to write this movie. This raised questions since, Notes from the New Word tells the story of a writer who is caught in between a Mexican girl, a prostitute, and the Russian Mafia’s dirty business. 

The Missing Screenwriter by VMP Films and Vitaly Sumin
The Missing Screenwriter


The story gets quite interesting after this point. Before Robert Hurley went missing, VM Productions received strange calls. Hurley also claimed to encounter a figure – a tall man- peering into his parked car’s window. The man fled the scene before Hurley could confront him. After a couple of days, when Hurley didn’t answer his phone, Vitaly Sumin and his crew went to his apartment to check up on him. When they got there, they saw the door was unlocked and the only shooting script containing director Vitaly Sumin’s handwritten notes were gone. In addition to that, there were signs of foul play around his house. Now, no one knows where Robert Hurley is… 

The Theories for The Missing Screenwriter

What happened to Robert Hurley? Where is he? After his disappearance, VMP Films hired a private investigator. Everyone had a theory. To help the authorities find the missing screenwriter, VMP Films shared the information they know about Robert Hurley. When he went missing, Vitaly Sumin and his crew paid a visit to his apartment where they found Robert’s journal and sketches. These drawings were rather disturbing and unpleasant. This brings us to the first theory:

The Ancient Satanic Cult: Dark Onto Light 

The Dark Onto Light - Cult - Missing Screenwriter

On the missing screenwriter Robert Hurley’s website, he investigates an ancient cult. Moreover, he gives its history which dates back to est. 1900 B.C. This eerie ancient cult believes the light will be achieved through the dark. They drink each other’s blood during meetings because they believe “Blood is the lifeline and is sacred”. 

Also, they believe women – the giver of life – must be sacrificed. Colin Walsh, script advisor and 2nd assistant director at VMP Films, did his own research about “Dark onto Light”. He wrote these words in his blog: 

“Women are the givers of life and sacrificing them is the highest form of “giving back” to their savior. Throughout history, prostitutes were commonly used.”

This brings us to the first theory. According to the missing screenwriter Robert’s diary, he was dating a call-girl named Natalya. Moreover, she worked for the Russian and Mexican Mafias. In his journal, Robert mentions their trip to Mexico. He says that they followed Natalya’s mafia boss to his monthly ritual. They peered inside and saw the unspeakable.

Robert Hurley’s Journal -selected pages

“They use golden daggers and take turns slicing their arms and dripping the blood into a gold cup. Each take turns sipping from it. A woman was tied down in the center of the room with a 5-point star drawn in the center. They all gathered in a circle and chanted, then they cut into her wrists and drank her blood.”

The Missing Screenwriter Robert Hurley's diary
Robert Hurley’s Journal

These words are not easy to read. This was his first encounter with the ancient cult and the Russian Mob at the same time. Later, Robert finished these lines by expressing how scared he is for Natalya’s life. 

Obsession of the Screenwriter

The more Robert dived deep, the more he got tangled into this mess. He became obsessed with the cult. In his journal, he mentions that he can’t stop himself from researching. He gives a lot of information about the cult. Meantime, during the pre-production of Notes from the New World, Vitaly Sumin was having a lot of setbacks. He even mentioned that ‘somebody or something didn’t want this movie to be made‘. After he trusted Robert Hurley with his handwritten notes of the shooting script, Robert vanished. This forced the production to stop for about a month+ (the time required to restore the shooting script).

The theory of the investigators and the VMP Film crew suggests the ancient cult kidnapped screenwriter Robert Hurley. Moreover, whoever took him also took the only copy of Vitaly Sumin’s notes. Was the missing screenwriter heading somewhere with his cult research? Did he intend to put information about the cult into the movie? Didn’t the cult want their stories to be told to the public? Is that why they kidnapped him? There are surely many questions to be answered. Although, even If this is the truth, there is no way to find it out for now. 

The Russian Mob Theory   

The Russian Mob plays an important role both in the movie Notes from the New World and in this missing screenwriter case. According to Christophe Parker’s investigation, cult members point to the Russian Mob. As we portrayed earlier, in the findings of this investigation, Robert Hurley’s girlfriend Natalya was involved with the Russian Mob. Christophe Parker claims there might be a connection between these two. 

In November 22nd entry, the missing screenwriter wrote “Today Natalya told me she hid some money in my room that belonged to her mafia bosses. Now they believe I had something to do with it!”. He ends that day’s notes with “I’m scared for my life”. Thus, it is a possibility that he was abducted or murdered by the Mafia. 

Sighting of the Missing Screenwriter 

After the disappearance of the missing screenwriter, no one heard from him. Although, one day Vitaly Sumin received an email from his brother Andrei (important: this was before the Russian invasion of Ukraine). Andrei Sumin then lived in St. Petersburg, Russia. In his email, he said he saw Robert Hurley stepping out of a limousine in Nevsky avenue (the main street of SPB). He added that Robert was heading to the Golden Dolls Club with wealthy-looking guys and a blonde beautiful girl in his arms. When Andrei tried to approach, the men who surrounded Robert Hurley pushed him back. Furthermore, these men threatened him when he insisted to say hi to Robert. In the same email, Andrei also mentioned that he overheard them talking about Robert owning them money. 

After this sighting, Robert Hurley was never seen again. As of this writing, everyone involved (well, more or less…) is sure there is something sinister going on in this case. Robert Hurley was dedicated to his work and the way he left the things appears to be a huge question mark. According to Vitaly Sumin (at the time of this posting, he declined to provide the additional details), Robert would never abandon his work this way. Furthermore, according to his journal, he was overly excited to start the filming process of Notes from the New World

Notes from the New Word and the Missing Screenwriter 

An LA Story -poster

Notes from the New World, the award-winner feature film by VMP Films and Vitaly Sumin was not an easy film to shoot. According to Vitaly Sumin, all odds were against the crew. Additionally, the disappearance of Screenwriter Robert Hurley and the involvement of the ancient cult made the filming process more and more challenging. As a result, Vitaly Sumin decided to make a behind-the-scenes movie for Notes from the New World. The title of the film An LA Story: The Making of the award-winning Notes from the New World is currently in post-production. At this time, we can only hope to learn more about Robert Hurley and the related matters after the release of An LA Story.

The Missing Screenwriter – What happened to Robert Hurley?

The truth still remains a mystery. Sometimes, truth is truly stranger than fiction. To conduct this article, I did a tons of research. I wanted to dive deep and find out more. For the sake of my “The Missing screenwriter” story, I turned to the ultimate source. Hence, I asked two questions to Vitaly Sumin: What happened to Robert Hurley? He informed me that he and his team created The Missing Screenwriter -19 mini episodes during the Pre-production of Notes from the New World. However, the story didn’t end there. He assured me that there will be more to this story. My second question was if this story really happened. The answer I received was… only a clue…Which made me even more curious!

The mysterious story doesn’t end here. If you are dying to learn more about Robert Hurley, find other clues and maybe even help us to solve this mystery, you can begin by taking a look at  The Missing Screenwriter miniseries’ trailer:

All in all, The Missing Screenwriter is a true masterpiece, as well as the behind-the-scenes movie An LA Story, which is currently in post-production (pls. see above). I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to find out more!

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The Missing Screenwriter - VMP Films

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Melodi Bac

Melodi Bac is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and script consultant with a BA in Film & Television, with a UCLA master-level certification in Screenwriting. She loves to create new worlds while thinking outside the box and analyzing works created by other writers.

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