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APG, Canal get in gear

Film adaptation of vidgame 'Nightmare' in development

This article was corrected on Nov. 6, 2000.

The joint financing/production venture of Artists Production Group and StudioCanal is beginning to roll, with upcoming projects from “The Perfect Storm” screenwriter Bill Witliff, a live-action directing gig for “Dinosaur” helmer Ralph Zondag and an action comedy that will be produced by Gene Simmons. All projects are targeted for 2001 production starts.

Witliff has sold APG his pitch “The Conquest of Mexico,” an epic tale that centers on a love triangle between Hernando Cortez, Montezuma and their translator, Marina, during the overthrow of the Aztec empire. Witliff brought the pitch to APG’s Cathy Shulman and StudioCanal’s Stephane Sperry and Arnaud Duteil.

Witliff, whose credits also include “Legends of the Fall” and “Lonesome Dove,” is repped by the William Morris Agency.

Also in development is an adaptation of the videogame “Nightmare Creatures,” with Zondag attached to direct. APG/StudioCanal optioned the feature rights from French videogamer Kalisto Entertainment. Matt Cirulnick will adapt the title, which is set in 17th century London and follows deranged master surgeon Adam Crowley as he learns to regenerate his failing body over 400 years and plans to scientifically alter the course of evolution. APG’s Steve Barnett brought the project into the venture.

Zondag, who is also attached to direct “Raised by Ghosts” for MGM, is repped by Broder, Kurland, Webb, Uffner and attorney Peter Nichols of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols and Adler.

Cirulnick, who recently completed three titles for Dimension Films and is rewriting “Full Contact” for New Line Cinema, is repped by UTA and AMG.

Finally, APG/StudioCanal have acquired an untitled action comedy from Simmons, Bob LoCash (“BASEketball”), Nick Creature and Josh Rutherford.

Simmons brought the project to Sperry and Shulman. Creature, LoCash and Rutherford will pen the script, with the Gene Simmons Co. and Scott Steindorff’s Stone Village Pictures producing. Project will be overseen by APG’s Barnett and George Gatins.

Creature and Rutherford are repped by Jeff Okin of Metropolitan and managed by Brad Luff of Original Films. LoCash is repped by Chris Prince at Original Artists. Simmons is repped by attorney Philip Rosen of Rosen & Anderson. Steindorff is repped by attorney Linda Lichter.

StudioCanal maintains all international rights on projects under the StudioCanal/APG joint venture.

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