Robert De Niro’s Tribeca has arrowed motion picture rights to Andy Tennant and Rick Parks’ original story “Cupid,” a contemporary romantic fable set in Brooklyn about Roman mythology’s god of love.
Tennant, who directed the season’s highest-rated telepic to date, ABC’s “The Amy Fisher Story” starring Drew Barrymore, will make his feature directorial debut with “Cupid.”
Tennant and Parks will write the screenplay based on the pitch they sold to the New York-based Tribeca, in a deal negotiated by their agent Bruce Kaufman, of Broder Kurland Webb Uffner.
Tribeca co-founding partner and executive VP Jane Rosenthal said what struck her about the idea was it deals with the question, “if all these relationships are going wrong, maybe there’s a real reason–Cupid’s on the fritz.” The story, she added, then becomes a matter of what happens when Cupid finds his heart again.
“Clearly, it’s a wonderful love story, in the vein of ‘Heaven Can Wait,’ one of my favorite movies of all time,” said Rosenthal.
Tennant described the piece as a romantic fable about Cupid, who in an act of selfishness is stripped of his wings and must live as a mortal until he experiences first hand the pleasures and pains of love.
Tennant, who is about to get married, said the idea for “Cupid” germinated from a conversation he and his partner, Parks, also a newlywed, were having about “true love being the greatest thing in the world.”
The writer-director said he and Parks decided they wanted to write a love story with an edge that would be “a guy’s version of what the perfect date movie would be.”
Tennant said he and his writing partner plan to “put this on the fast track” and deliver a script to Tribeca by April 15.
Rosenthal said Tribeca will self-finance the development of “Cupid” and, when the script is completed, will make a studio deal. The company has a first-look arrangement with TriStar, which passed on this project, and has additional projects in various stages of development with Warner Bros., Universal, Columbia and Fox.
Tennant said while “Cupid” was sought after by other producers and studios, including MGM and Larry Brezner at Fox, he and Parks opted to go with Tribeca because of their “passion for the project” and because the company was “very supportive of first-time directors.”
He said Tribeca exex never blinked when he told them he wanted to direct the movie.
De Niro made his directorial debut with Tribeca’s “A Bronx Tale,” currently in post-production, and Barry Primus was a first-time director on Tribeca’s 1992 release “Mistress.”
Tennant, whose ratings on “The Amy Fisher Story” surpassed the other networks’ competing telepix on that subject to become ABC’s highest-rated show of the year, also directed the “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” sitcom pilot for Fox.
His other writing credits include NBC’s 1992 telepic “What She Doesn’t Know,” starring Valerie Bertinelli, “Moving Target,””Dancing Man,””Black ‘n’ Blue,””The Lights” and “RSVP.”
He also has a feature script in development at Universal called “Home for the Holidays,” a sentimental comedy about a family stuck with a house full of strangers at Christmas during a snowstorm.
“Cupid” is Parks’ first credit.
Tennant said after he and Parks complete the “Cupid” screenplay, they plan to write a feature called “The Buck-Naked Neighbor,” which he said would be “the flip side of the Cupid story–the love story from hell.”