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Silver forges Zinc arm

Lowe to star in inaugural 'Proximity'

Joel Silver’s Warner Bros.-based Silver Pictures is launching a new low- budget production division, Zinc Pictures, whose inaugural project will be the thriller “Proximity,” directed by Scott Ziehl (“Broken Vessels”). Rob Lowe is in negotiations for the lead. Seamus Ruane and Ben Queen penned the script.

Zinc is forged in the model of Decade Pictures, the low-budget division that Silver launched in 1996 as a partnership with Richard Donner, who directed Silver’s hit “Lethal Weapon” franchise.

No other titles will be produced under the Decade label, which was designed to produced action thrillers and financed by HBO, Kushner-Locke Intl. and Republic Pictures.

As with Decade, HBO will have first-run cable rights on titles produced under Zinc. Although the Zinc titles will have a domestic theatrical window, no distributor is in place for the slate. Overseas Filmgroup will handle international rights on “Proximity.”

Budgeted at $5 million, pic follows an inmate who, while serving time for vehicular homicide, overhears prison guards discussing plans for a murder and becomes a target himself.

Production is expected to begin around June 1 in Ohio. Silver will produce the pic.

Although the game plan for Decade called for five action pictures over a two-year period with budgets of $6 million and under, the partnership produced just two titles: 1997’s “Double Tap,” starring Stephen Rea and Heather Locklear, which was distributed by Kushner-Locke Intl., and 1999’s “Made Men,” starring James Belushi and Vanessa Angel. That title was represented by Overseas for international rights.

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