Helmer Miller options pic rights to ‘Darkling’

Director Robert Ellis Miller has optioned movie rights to Michael O’Rourke’s fantasy novel “Darkling,” about an ancient, shadowy creature that attempts to corrupt the soul of a war correspondent. The book is skedded to be published by HarperCollins this month.

Directing plans

The filmmaker, who helmed such pix as “Reuben, Reuben” and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” said he plans to direct the pic, with O’Rourke writing the screenplay.

Acquisition was orchestrated through Miller’s independent banner, REM Company Films.

The deal is estimated at $ 25,000 against $ 125,000.

There is an additional fee for O’Rourke to write the screenplay, as well as accelerations dependent on casting and budget of the movie.

Upon delivery of a screenplay, expected by February, Ellis plans to take the project out for studio or independent financiers.

He said he wants to shoot “Darkling” in such locations as Virginia City, Nev. , Yugoslavia and New York City, and hopes to be in production on the special-effects-laden movie by the fall of 1994.

Helmed ‘B&B’

Most recently, Ellis directed the Roger Moore starrer “Bed and Breakfast,” the Timothy Dalton vehicle “Hawks” and “Brenda Starr,” with Brooke Shields and Dalton.

The director said “Darkling” marks a major departure from his most recent work. “I haven’t done a horror movie or dark fantasy before and that’s what turns me on,” he said.

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