Geffen and MTV pair on ‘Apartment’

MTV Prods., the in-house production unit of MTV Networks Inc., and Geffen Pictures will jointly develop a feature film based on “Joe’s Apartment,” the MTV live-action/animated short.

The cable network has reportedly been looking for a feature film project for a while, with reportsfocusing on either “Joe’s Apartment” or “Beavis and Butt-Head” as the front-runners (Daily Variety, April 26).

While MTV will supervise the development of the script and executive produce the film, Geffen and Warner Bros. will fund the development of “Joe’s Apartment.”

The award-winning short, written and directed by John Payson, who will write and direct the feature version, is the story of a single guy trying to cope with his cockroach-infested New York home. The film received an Ace Award and a Houston World Festival Award, among other accolades.

According to MTV Prods. president Doug Herzog, the company always planned to get into the feature film business by joining up with an experienced — and well-funded — partner.

“Geffen and Warner Bros. have the expertise,” Herzog said. “This is why we decided to get into the movie business the way we did. We won’t be putting up any money. We develop ideas and great concepts and we wanted to get somebody else to help. They will pick up all the costs.”

As for the budget of the film, Herzog said, “It will cost more than the short , but less than ‘Last Action Hero.’ ”

The New York-based Payson is currently writing the screenplay, and according to Geffen Pictures president Bonni Lee, the script will be turned in soon.

“John’s short is a highly original project that we believe will make for an even more entertaining feature film,” Lee said.

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