What were the three intrepid agents from the William Morris indie film division doing at Mifed last week in Milan? Bounding energetically from sales company to sales company through the smoke-filled corridors.

Cassian Elwes, Rick Hess and rookie Ben Silverman paused by Variety’s offices just long enough to say they were busy matching a slew of potential films with international sales and distribution companies, much in the way of exec producers, and hoping to close two deals in Milan. But they refused to disclose the projects.

The halls of Mifed were buzzing with tales of the team’s exploits over the course of the week as they pushed their projects aggressively. In one case, they cheekily told one company’s blank-faced top exec, “OK, the deal’s closed. You’ve got yourself a Bruce Willis movie!”

In fact, that deal – the Willis vehicle, “Mr. Murder, ” now stalled at Savoy – did not close anywhere. The estimated cost, north of $40 million and as much as $60 million, was an obstacle, several sources said.

Nor did one of the Morris team’s other offerings, a John Travolta pet project based on an early sci-fi story by the late Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard with Travolta attached to direct. Said one company exec, “The pitch sounded good – until they mentioned who wrote the book.”

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