Barron nabs Halmi’s ‘Thief’

Hallmark Entertainment gets $40 mil prod'n

Steve Barron (“Adventures of Pinocchio,” “Coneheads”) will direct “Thief of Baghdad,” a remake of the classic tale, for Hallmark Entertainment in a $40 million-plus production that represents made-fors-and-minis maven Robert Halmi’s first foray into feature films.

Rookie scribe Dominic Minghella is penning the script, with shooting at an undetermined overseas locale set for a Feb. 1 start. Pic, to be wrapped and posted by spring, will be shopped to studios after completion.

Various film and TV versions of the “Thief” story have been made over the years. The tale involves a wrongly ousted prince who turns to thievery and adventure with encounters involving flying carpets and other fantasy elements.

Presti-digitization?

Halmi and Barron will produce the film, which is expected to boast substantial digital effects of the sort that have marked Halmi’s TV projects. Hallmark will finance the project through foreign pre-sales.

No acting talent has yet been attached, but casting is expected to begin soon. Location scouting is being conducted.

Barron, who will see his biggest payday to date from the project, has helmed TV projects including the Hallmark-produced “Merlin.” He’s repped by the William Morris Agency.

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