Morgan Creek Prods. has inked a deal with John Milius for him to direct the epic Viking adventure “The Northmen,” which will go into production in January in Europe and Scandinavia.

The announcement indicates that “Runaway Train,””Tango & Cash” and “The Inner Circle” director Andrei Konchalovsky has ankled from the project. Konchalovsky had long been under consideration to direct the big-budget movie.

In addition, Milius’ commitment to “The Northmen” will likely prompt a delay to Price Entertainment’s “Texas Rangers”– another project Milius was set to helm. Written by Milius, “The Texas Rangers” was earmarked to begin production this fall for Savoy Pictures.

Milius said production of “The Northmen” will set sail in January for Christmas 1994 release. Milius will rewrite Randall McCormick’s original screenplay to “The Northmen” before production begins.

“The Northmen” chronicles the exploits of a young English monk of noble descent who is captured by a band of Vikings and ingratiates himself into their culture. Milius said he was attracted to the project because “I’m a practicing Pagan. I’ve been a Viking all my life.”

Announcement of “The Northmen” was made by Morgan Creek chairman and CEO James G. Robinson. Milius said discussions for him to direct “The Northmen” began with Morgan Creek two weeks ago.

A budget figure on “The Northmen” could not be confirmed, but the production calls for the construction of several ships. Milius said plans call for the production to be “as big as it needs to be, and as cheap as it can be at the size.”

“The Northmen” will be the eighth movie directed by Milius, who previously helmed such pictures as “Dillinger,””Conan the Barbarian” and most recently “Flight of the Intruder.”

During a two-year directing hiatus, Milius concentrated on writing, finishing such screenplays as “The Texas Rangers,””Sgt. Rock,””Clear and Present Danger” and “Geronimo.”

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