Phoenician pins ‘Needles’

Spirer to helm noir thriller

Eli Samaha’s Phoenician Films has picked up the spec thriller script “Charley Needles” for high five figures against low six figures, sources said.

The noir thriller, described as ” ‘Chinatown’ meets ‘Blade Runner,’ ” was written by German scribe Robert Schwentke.

“Needles” will mark the feature directing debut of documentary filmmaker Peter Spirer (“The Life and Work of Sally Mann,” Miramax Films’ “Rhyme and Reason”). Samaha, Myles O’Brien, Morgan Margolis and Richard Spero will produce.

“Needles” currently is casting with a view to begin shooting in Montreal in late spring or early summer. The film will be budgeted in the $7 million-to-$9 million range, according to the producers.

Phoenician, which Samaha uses to make genre or more specialized productions, will finance the film and handle worldwide distribution.

Schwentke, Spirer, O’Brien, Margolis and Spero were repped by William Morris Agency’s Hans Schiff. Samaha negotiated on behalf of Phoenician.

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