U inks O’Haver to pen, helm ‘Archie’

Comic book saga headed for big screen

NEW YORK — Universal is moving ahead with a screen version of “Archie,” based on the 55-year-old comic book saga of students at Riverdale High. Filmmaker Tommy O’Haver, whose first feature, “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” screened at Sundance, has been signed to write and direct the film, with Ben Myron producing.

Archie is the redheaded ringleader of a group of students that includes Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead and Moose.

The studio and Myron had been searching for the appropriate director for a long time when O’Haver came in with the right take. “His first film had the kind of fun and energy we were looking for in ‘Archie,’ ” said Myron. “I don’t think we could have found a better match of a writer/director and material.”

O’Haver said he collected the comic books as a kid and said he’ll make it much like “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” which was picked up for distribution by Trimark and will be released this summer.

“My movie was about young love, and ‘Archie’ is much the same thing,” said O’Haver. “It’s basically Archie stuck between Betty and Veronica, with him in love with Veronica and Betty in love with him.

“My other film had a cartoonish over-the-top aesthetic, and when Ben and (U exec) Allison Brecker saw that and my pitch, they sparked to it,” added O’Haver, who’s repped by Agency for the Performing Arts’ Adam Schulman and Brant Rose.

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