Nat Kelly Cole has dusted off the 30-year-old KellCole Prods. shingle of his father, Nat King Cole, with plans to expand the company into movie, television and stage productions.
Established as his father’s music touring company — and named after Kelly Cole — KellCole Prods. has eight movie projects in development, including the boxing story “Johnny Tough,””Tuskegee Airmen 332” and “Another Venice.”
Beyond movie plans, Cole is completing his father’s official biography, which is expected to be published in 1993.
Adding to KellCole Prods.’ Hollywood bloodlines are four movie projects developed in partnership with Christopher Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew), including the $ 12 million feature “Apothecary” and “Super Hero.”
“The KellCole projects are similar in terms of being works of adventure and imagination,” said Cole, who works out of offices in the Hollywood Hills. “We are looking to produce movies in the vein of classics, which run deeper than the Hollywood light fare that has been running over the last 10 years or so.”
Beyond Coppola, KellCole has partnered with Steven Cheikes’ Canadian production company the Beacon Group and actor/writer Nicholas Hadji, who is VP of KellCole. Current operations of KellCole Prods. are self-financed.
The 33-year-old Cole will also continue his work as executive VP of King Cole Prods., which represents his father’s estate. King Cole Prods. was involved in Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” album and is currently developing a TV miniseries and stage musical based on Nat King Cole’s life.
‘Apothecary’ at top
Among the top titles on KellCole’s movie development agenda are “The Apothecary,” which is the story of a New England paper boy and his confrontation with an evil druggist. To be produced by Cheikes for the Beacon Group, the screenplay was written by Cole and Coppola.
Other KellCole Prods. projects:
o “The Jewels of Dr. Mabuse” from a treatment by Coppola, based on the German “Mabuse” film series of the 1920s about a criminal mastermind who uses hypnotism and blackmail to obtain world domination. KellCole is seeking a screenwriter on the project.
o “Super Hero,” based on Coppola’s story, is about a 12-year-old African-American boy living in a foster home in the New York projects. The boy receives an annual gift from a mysterious stranger, who turns out to be his father. KellCole is seeking a screenwriter on the project.
o “Tuskegee Airmen 332,” written by KellCole veepee Hadji, concerns the early days of the African-American air squadron, the so-called “noble experiment of World War II.” Hadji and Cole are slated to co-produce. Project is on the back burner, pending the outcome of a similar project from director George Lucas.
o “Another Venice,” written by Cole, is inspired by Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice.” Story focuses on a photographer in Venice, Calif.
o “Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare,” based on a treatment by Cole and Coppola , is a mystery about Sherlock Holmes investigating Shakespeare’s credentials. The project is an open writer’s assignment.
o “Desdemona and the Black Dick” based on a treatment by Cole and Hadji, the project is an amalgam of “The Maltese Falcon” and “Othello.” Writer’s assignment is open.