Orion on ‘urban adventure’

Leaving behind the debris of the aborted “Divine Rapture,” Orion Pictures has renewed efforts to produce its first pic since emerging from bankruptcy: Lensing commenced Aug. 12 on a film bringing back top stars of early ’70s blaxploitation pics.

The untitled film, shooting for 5 1/2 weeks in Gary, Ind., stars Fred Williamson (“Hammer”), Jim Brown (“Slaughter”), Pam Grier (“Foxy Brown”), Richard Roundtree (“Shaft”), Ron O’Neal (“Superfly”), Paul Winfield (“Gordon’s War”) and Isabel Sanford (“The Jeffersons”) among others. Isaac Hayes (“Theme From Shaft”) is composing the score, and talks are under way with Virgin Records to release the soundtrack.

Williamson is producing the modestly budgeted theatrical pic through Hammertime Prods., owned by Williamson and his wife, Linda. Larry Cohen (“Hell Up in Harlem”) is helming from a script by Kin Rattan.

Story concerns a group of former gang members who reunite to take on a group of drug-dealing gangbangers and clean up the old neighborhood.

“The market has always been there for the black hero,” Williamson said. “This is the old school and the new school together.”

Eschewing the term “blaxploitation,” Orion prexy Len White said, “I call them urban adventure movies.”

Foreign rights have been sold through Big Bear Releasing; Orion holds North American rights.

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