Gilliam to helm 'Omens'; Hynter takes 'Alamos'

Terry Gilliam will direct the $50 million comic fantasy “Good Omens,” and Nicholas Hytner will helm the $25 million romantic thriller “Los Alamos,” both for Renaissance Films.

Gilliam and Tony Grisoni are adapting “Good Omens” from the worldwide bestseller by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment is co-producing the pic with British producers Marc and Peter Samuelson.

The film is slated to shoot in the U.K. toward the end of 2001. It’s a knockabout story of an angel and a demon who are sent together on a mission to track down the Antichrist, who has been misplaced somewhere on Earth.

Laurence Dworet will adapt “Los Alamos” from Joseph Kanon’s novel. Ted Hope and James Schamus at Good Machine are developing and producing the project.

Story concerns a murder investigation set against the backdrop of the race to develop the nuclear bomb in early 1945. Pic reteams Hytner with Renaissance, the company that produced his first movie, “The Madness of King George.”

London-based Renaissance will finance and sell both movies. In the case of “Good Omens,” which reunites Gilliam with Roven for the first time since “Twelve Monkeys,” pic will also go through Roven’s own output deals in selected territories. Renaissance itself has an output deal with Entertainment Film Distributors in the U.K.

The Gilliam pic, which has been long in negotiation, reps the first fruit of Renaissance’s policy to make larger A-grade projects, co-financed through its newly inked $210 million credit line with the bank Dexia BIL. Renaissance is picking up all the development costs.

Gaiman, creator of the graphic novels “The Sandman” and “Neverwhere,” and Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, both have huge cult followings. “Terry Gilliam, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are all certifiable geniuses; we have now set the fuse on behalf of their millions of fans around the world,” said Marc Samuelson.

Renaissance has two pics in production — Rose Troche’s “The Safety of Objects” and Paul McGuigan’s “Morality Play.” It is also understood to be in negotiations to board Brian De Palma’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”

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