NL, Atlantic nab ‘Hedwig’

Tuner heading for bigscreen, CD

NEW YORK — After weeks of foot-dragging, the principals in the hit Off Broadway musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” have reached a deal to turn the tuner into a Hollywood pic and a major CD release. A deal is in place for New Line Pictures to pony up $3.5 million to turn the tuner, about an East German transsexual punk/glam rocker’s exploits in love and music in Kansas City, into a pic.

The deal for “Hedwig,” produced by Peter Askin and Suzanne Brinkley, was hung up for the past five weeks by a conflict between composer Stephen Trask and Askin and Brinkley. Trask wanted a deal with Atlantic Records, while the producers favored dealing with Jersey Shore.

Insiders say Trask got his Atlantic pact and add that his is not just a soundtrack deal, but a stylized concept album that will stand alone. The tuner’s star, John Cameron Mitchell, will direct and star in the New Line pic.

Danny DeVito’s Jersey Shore, the arthouse division of Jersey Films, had initially been in the running for both the film and record rights. But insiders say that Trask, who has harbored a near-obsession with getting a deal with Atlantic Records, was skittish about the treatment that Jersey’s fledgling soundtrack label could provide.

Video version

Atlantic also said that a video of several “Hedwig” tunes may be in the offing — a burden that Jersey would not likely have been interested in shouldering.

Likewise a factor was the dissolving of a Jersey Shore distribution deal with October Films, which would have distribbed the pic, that collapsed on July 15.

While album release dates have not yet been determined, meetings are skedded for as early as today to finalize the record release dates and other fine print.

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