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Par hunts down ‘Prey’ with Heffernan script

Pic is a cross between 'Deliverance,' 'Black Hawk Down'

Paramount Pictures is taking aim at “The Naked Prey,” an updated version of its 1961 jungle adventure.

Studio has bought scripter John Heffernan’s treatment in a deal worth low- to mid-six figures for Paramount-based MTV Films to produce.

Story involves a group of West Point cadets whose spring break turns deadly when their chartered boat runs aground in Nicaragua, leading to a violent confrontation with hoodlums that leaves a young boy dead. The West Pointers are then pursued through the jungle by henchmen of a cocaine warlord, who blames the cadets for the death of his son.

The original pic starred Cornel Wilde running for his life through the jungles of 19th-century Africa while being pursued by Zulu tribesmen.

“The story is about these surface warfare majors that have only experienced war in the pages of a textbook, who now must draw upon every lesson they’ve ever learned, as well as upon each other, to somehow survive at the hands of professional assassins in a foreign land,” Heffernan said. “It’s equal parts ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Black Hawk Down,’ a story about a group of guys who receive this trial by fire that they weren’t really expecting and the choices they ultimately make.”

Treatment was sold as part of Heffernan’s blind script commitment with Paramount and MTV Films, established after Heffernan wrote “Snakes on a Plane” for the studio and production company. Heffernan, repped by ICM, is also writing Clive Barker’s “Damnation Game” for Warner Bros., with Barker and Phoenix Pictures producing.

Deal was brokered by David Colden and Jeff Frankel of Colden, McKuin and Frankel.

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