Omnibus picks up pix

Projects for helmers Hytner, Cuaron on tap

NEW YORK — Rob Scheidlinger’s Fox-based production company Omnibus is putting together a clutch of film projects, including pics for Nicholas Hytner and Alfonso Cuaron to direct.

The Hytner project is “Children’s Crusade,” about the religious kiddie quest across Europe in the 11th century. The film will be done for Tom Rothman’s 20th Century Fox division at Fox.

Peter Barnes (“The Ruling Class,” “Enchanted April”) is writing, with hopes that it will be the next film for Hytner, whose pic credits are “The Madness of King George” and “The Crucible” and who’s currently directing “The Object of My Affection.”

“It was a dreadful time in Europe, where pestilence and war left towns decimated, and orphans everywhere,” Scheidlinger said. A charismatic but not-too-bright boy persuaded 100,000 children to follow him, saying the Mediterranean Sea would part and lead to the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, the sea didn’t part, and the kids were met by the Moors, who enslaved them.

“They had a preconception that the Moors were barbaric, even though it turned out their culture was far advanced from the Europeans.”

Omnibus also is developing the Daniel Silva novel “The Unlikely Spy” as a directing vehicle for Cuaron, with Brian Kenny producing along with Scheidlinger, and Cuaron’s Besame Mucho co-producing with Omnibus.

Scheidlinger described it as “a World War II spy thriller, with tremendous action sequences.”

Also for Rothman, Scheidlinger is developing “Give Us a Kiss,” a novel by Daniel Woodrell which is being adapted by Stan Seidel (whose spec “The Retirement Package” was recently bought by Imagine). Scheidlinger described it as ” ‘Pulp Fiction’ set in the Ozarks; it’s funny and sexy and a bit violent.”

Ben Ramsey (“The Big Hit”) is writing “Now Hear This,” about kids in South-Central L.A. and Orange County who get together to play rock ‘n’ roll.

For Laura Ziskin’s Fox 2000, Scheidlinger is teaming with “Frontline” executive producer David Fanning on “Speaking of Sex,” a sex farce written by Gary Tieche.

Also for Ziskin, Omnibus has “Beached,” a Ted Griffin-scripted comedy about a kid who falls overboard and is raised by whales. He returns to Nantucket after 20 years, greatly influenced by his adopted parents.

“He’s big and fat, and the fastest swimmer in the world,” said Scheidlinger. “Think of a huge actor in a Speedo, with Olympic gold medals around his neck.”

Omnibus is run by Scheidlinger, with senior VP Lisa Moiselle and creative exec Ned Rosen.

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