Paramount gives in to ‘Extremists’

'Musketeer' producer Signature sells avalanche pic

This article was corrected on Oct. 19, 2001.

Paramount Pictures has closed a deal to take domestic rights to the Christian Duguay-helmed “The Extremists,” starring Devon Sawa, Rufus Sewell, Rupert Graves, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras and Klaus Maria Brandauer.

Budgeted at $40 million, pic was financed via the German film fund Apollo Media, Canadian tax shelter monies and foreign presales. Producers were Signature Entertainment topper Moshe Diamant and Jan Fantel. Mark Damon’s MDP Worldwide handled some of the pic’s presales.

Signature Entertainment brought the pic to Paramount’s Rob Friedman, vice chairman of the motion picture group. The studio plans a 2002 release.

Diamant bought and helped develop the script, penned by Michael Zaidan. Story centers on a bunch of extreme sports buffs who, while shooting a commercial, wind up in a real avalanche. They have to survive nature, their antagonists and each other.

Shot in the Swiss and Austrian Alps and in the U.S., storyine bears a strange resemblance to a real-life incident involving the late Werner Koenig. Co-founder and driving force behind German conglom, Helkon Media, Koenig died while scouting locations in Verbier, Switzerland, for “The Extremists,” which was to be a Helkon pic. Though once a professional skier, Koenig was trapped in an avalanche.

Signature recently produced and cobbled together independent financing for “Muskeeter,” a Universal release earlier this fall. The Los Angeles-based shingle also produced “Fear.com,” to be offered to the studios for distribution in the coming weeks.

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