Sir Lancelot, King Arthur and Jerry Zucker are about to ride again.
All signs point to Columbia Pictures giving the greenlight to “First Knight,” which will mark writer-producer-director Zucker’s first directing project since “Ghost,” the 1990 supernatural thriller that has since taken in more than $ 500 million worldwide.
“First Knight” will also mark the first greenlighted Zucker film project since the Zucker brothers –Jerry and David–signed their three-year deal with the studio in July 1991.
While the legend of King Arthur, Lancelot and Camelot seems to be one of the hottest subjects in Hollywood, with no fewer than 10 projects in active development, Zucker’s film looks to be the first to go into production.
According to sources, producer Jon Davison, who teamed with the Zucker Brothers (and Jim Abrahams) on “Airplane!” and “Top Secret!” is expected to sign on as producer of “First Knight,” which will probably go before the cameras in England next May.
Pre-production is set to begin in January. Zucker says that the film will probably be in production for four or five months.
Davison, who was not available for comment, has had a development deal in place at TriStar since 1990, under his and partner Frances Doel’s Davison/Doel Prods. banner.
Columbia officials would not confirm that the film is about to go, though studio chairman Mark Canton, reached at his office earlier this week, said, “It’s very exciting to see we are progressing with one specific project and have a project we love.”
Sources say studio exex became enthused about the project–in development for the last year– when screenwriter Bo Goldman turned in his rewrite of the screenplay and Zucker committed to directing the film last week.
“First Knight” was originally written by Lorne Cameron and David Hoselton before Goldman was hired to re-write the script.
While sources estimate the budget for the film at between $ 35 million and $ 40 million, Zucker said, “It’s not going to be an inexpensive picture.”