Berman to exec produce comedic thriller 'Arach'

Sony-based Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment has teamed with Village Roadshow Pictures and Warner Bros. to produce “Arach Attack,” an f/x-driven comedic thriller to be directed by New Zealander Ellory Elkayem.

Project is in turnaround at Sony, where Centropolis had been developing it. Elkayem and Jesse Alexander co-wrote the script. Devlin and Emmerich will produce, with Village Roadshow topper Bruce Berman serving as exec producer. Pic, said to be budgeted at under $30 million, will be co-financed by Village Roadshow and Warner Bros.

Producers plan to start lensing in September in Australia, though no cast is set.

Berman, along with Village Roadshow’s prexy of production, Bernie Goldmann, brought the project into the company and will oversee its production; Jeff Robinov, senior veep at Warner Bros., will shepherd for the studio, along with president of production Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

In “Arach Attack,” a toxic waste spill causes giant spiders to go on a rampage.

“The physical production of ‘Arach Attack’ is a Volkswagen with a Porsche engine,” said Devlin of the project, referring to the fact that most of “Arach’s” low budget will be spent on some 200 effects shots that Centropolis Effects will create.

Centropolis Effects is presently handling effects on “The Patriot,” which stars Mel Gibson and Keith Ledger and opens June 30 nationwide; the company has also produced effects for Sony’s “Stuart Little” and “Godzilla” and Universal’s “End of Days.”

“We’ve been friends with Lorenzo for years,” said Devlin. “We have always wanted to work with him. And Bruce is a neighbor and friend. We are ecstatic to be working with them both.”

“This is the example of the kind of business that Village Roadshow would like to be involved with,” added Berman. “We love projects that are ready to go that we can co-finance with Warner Brothers.”

Elkayem directed the short “Larger Than Life” and the television movie “They Nest” for USA Networks.

Devlin and Emmerich have a first-look deal at Sony that expires in early 2001. Devlin and Emmerich’s deal was brokered by CAA; Elkayem is repped by UTA; Alexander is repped by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner.

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