Badham plans 2 Par pix

As further evidence that Paramount Pictures is aggressively ramping up production, the studio has entered into a two-picture, back-to-back deal with director John Badham for his services on the suspense-thriller “Nick of Time” and the action-adventure “Drop Zone.”

In addition to directing both projects, Badham, who most recently directed “Another Stakeout,” will serve as executive producer on both films.

The deal — negotiated by the William Morris Agency’s Lee Rosenberg — underscores Paramount’s willingness to sign top creative talent. The pact is considered unusual in today’s marketplace in light of the fact that the studio has essentially gotten a two-picture directing commitment from an A-list director.

First up for Badham will be the $ 40 million actioner “Drop Zone,” which is expected to roll before the end of the year. Written by Peter Barsocchini and rewritten by current Paramount fave John Bishop, it’s the story of sky-diving criminals who plan to break into the federal computer system to access confidential lists of undercover DEA agents.

“Drop Zone” will be produced by Wallis Nicita and Lauren Lloyd, who formerly had their Nicita/Lloyd Prods. based at Paramount.

According to sources, while Badham is directing “Drop Zone,” he will also be working with a screenwriter and prepping his second project in the deal, the suspense-thriller “Nick of Time.” Written by Patrick Duncan, the story is about a man who’s abducted and told to commit a crime or his family will be killed.

The film’s narrative takes place within the real space of the movie and the main character only has about two hours — the length of the movie — to solve the crime.

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