Trimark fingers Phillips for ‘Touch’

Trimark Films has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “Dangerous Touch, ” which will mark Lou Diamond Phillips’ directorial debut and be produced in association with Cinetel Pictures.

Budgeted at $ 4 million, film is about an ex-con (Phillips) who lures a radio psychologist (Kate Vernon of “Malcolm X”) into a web of rapture, revenge and homicide. Written by Kurt Voss, pic will be produced by Lisa Hansen.

It’s the first go movie for Phillips’ Facet Films banner.

Trimark has tentatively skedded “Dangerous Touch” for a fall release, between the Nicolas Cage/Michael Biehn starrer “Deadfall” and “Return of the Living Dead Part III.” Trimark plans six to eight theatrical releases this year.

Phillips — whose pix include “Stand and Deliver,””La Bamba” and the “Young Guns” movies — stars opposite Scott Glenn in Trimark’s April 16 opener “Extreme Justice,” which was inspired by the special investigative section of the Los Angeles Police Dept. in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Part of our business plan is to allow actors and actresses the opportunity to move into other areas in their career,” Trimark senior veepee of production Andrew Hersh said.

“Lou came to us with great passion for this material and convinced us that he understood what this was, and had the vision to bring it to the screen. Our mandate is to continue to give talent similar opportunities to show their stuff.”

Trimark has emerged as one of the independent arena’s most eclectic distributors, mixing, for example, the critically lambasted “Leprechaun” with the critically acclaimed “A Midnight Clear” on its release sked. The company’s current release is an unrated version of director Peter Jackson’s “Dead/Alive,” which opened in New York Feb. 12. “Dangerous Touch” is part of Trimark’s push to produce movies for theatrical release, which began in 1991 when company chairman Mark Amin decided there was no other way to fill its distribution pipeline.

In the aftermath of Amin’s decision, Trimark has greenlighted such pix as director Ken Russell’s “Whore,” the Anthony Michael Hall starrer “Into the Sun, “”Warlock: The Armageddon” and “Extreme Justice.”

Next on Trimark’s production agenda is the teen romp “Tack’s Chicks,” written by Rich Wilkes and Jim Melconian. The pic will be produced by Neil Moritz and David Hayman, who were behind the 1991 release “Juice.”

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