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Van Sant gets chores on Perry’s helming bow

Vegas locale for runaway-teen tale

Gus Van Sant, director of “Good Will Hunting,” will executive produce “Speedway Junky,” the feature directorial debut of shorts-filmmaker Nickolas Perry.

The $1 million pic, which was penned by Perry, is set in Las Vegas and is the story of a runaway teenager who dreams of becoming a professional race car driver.

“Junky” will be produced by Omanoff/Emmett Films’ Rodney Omanoff and Randall Emmett. Rafi Stephan will co-produce. According to Emmett, pic will be financed by private investors. It begins shooting May 15 in L.A. and Vegas.

Casting for the leads is under way, although Justin Urich (“3rd Rock From the Sun”) has been tapped for a supporting role.

Perry’s short “Must Be the Music” debuted at the 1996 Sundance Festival, and producers said they are positioning his feature debut for the 1999 fest.

Van Sant is no stranger to the world of indie film, having directed edgy fare such as “Drugstore Cowboy” and “My Own Private Idaho.” He became interested in Perry’s work after seeing “Music” at Sundance, Emmett said. He then read “Junky” and agreed to godfather the project.

Perry pitched “Junky” separately to Emmett and Omanoff. The partners agreed to finance it after reading the screenplay.

Omanoff/Emmett Films was formed less than a year ago. Emmett said the company has plans to make three or four indie pics a year in the $1 million-$5 million range.

Emmett previously produced the low-budget indie drama “Eyes Beyond Seeing.” Omanoff is a partner in Creative Manage-ment Group, which handles Urich, actor John Witherspoon (the WB Network’s “The Wayans Bros.”) and Racquel Gardner (“Species II”), among others.

Perry’s deal was brokered by Gaby Morgerman of William Morris Agency and David Feldman of Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klien. Omanoff/Emmett was repped by Loeb & Loeb’s Jeremy Barber.

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