Fox 2000 goes whole hog for biker pic

'Hell's Angel' has blessing of group

This article was corrected on Sept. 14, 2000.

Fox 2000 has climbed aboard the Tony Scott-directed adaptation of “Hell’s Angel,” the authorized film history of the fabled counterculture motorcycle club Hell’s Angels that’s based on the recently published memoirs of club leader Ralph “Sonny” Barger.

Scott has been aligned with the project for more than a year (Daily Variety, May 6, 1999), producing with Ben Myron and Fritz Clapp, the latter of whom is the longtime attorney for both the Angels and Barger.

Now that Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler has her studio wearing the Angels’ colors, the film’s revving up with the hiring of scribe Anthony Zuiker, who created the upcoming Jerry Bruckheimer/Touchstone-produced fall drama series “C.S.I” for CBS.

“Hell’s Angel” is significant in that it is the first film with the blessing of the Angels and the permission to use the club’s logo. That distinguishes it from a slew of biker films over the years with generic gangs all modeled after the Angels.

Barger is the true-life version of the bare-chested, tattooed, quick-fisted, womanizing, leather-jacketed toughs seen ruling the road in countless B-movies. His Angels adventures date back to 1957, when he formed the Oakland chapter of the Angels and helped spread it across the West Coast and across the globe.

The film will include all the violence, sex and carefree living that marked the heyday of the bike club. It won’t shy away from the numerous legal beefs that sent Barger to prison, or the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, where the Angels were hired to work security and the concert was one giant, drunken melee.

“I’ve been the trademark attorney for the Angels for eight and one half years, and spent most of my career keeping people from doing things on the club,” Clapp said. “That’s why it was so important to choose the right place and people for the first authorized story. We have a filmmaker who’s an avid motorcyclist, who has proven in past films that he’s sensitive to his subjects. The movie makes it possible for Beth Gabler to make a bold movie and show people she won’t be pigeonholed as running a woman’s division.”

Scott came aboard the project shortly after Barger and Clapp were enlisted by Myron, the vet producer who just wrapped “Wakin’ Up in Reno” and is prepping at Fox the remake of “Cheaper By the Dozen” (with 1492 Prods.) and a Fox/Warner Bros. remake of “Barbarella” (with Flower Films).

The director, who’s in Europe prepping “Spy Game” with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, is a motorcycle freak who owns five bikes. Scott Free will shepherd the project along with Myron, Clapp and Fox execs Gabler and Ashley Kramer. Scott is repped by CAA. Zuiker is repped by CAA, Margaret Riley of Industry Entertainment and Kevin Yorn of Barnes, Morris, Klein & Yorn.

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