Thesp lands Holmes pic; Lucas, Kudrow may co-star

NEW YORK — Val Kilmer will play late porn king John Holmes in “Wonderland,” to be directed by James Cox (“Highway”) and distributed by Lions Gate Films.

Script, the true tale of the 1981 involvement of Holmes and his teenage lover in a quadruple homicide on Wonderland Avenue in Los Angeles, was penned by Todd Samovitz, D. Loriston Scott, Captain Mauzner and Cox. Pic will be produced by Holly Wiersma. Lensing will begin in Los Angeles in early November.

Producers and Lions Gate are in advanced negotiations with Josh Lucas (“Sweet Home Alabama”), Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) and Lisa Kudrow to co-star. Christina Applegate and Kevin Pollak are in talks to join the cast.

“What always interested me in this project is the truth of the incident,” Cox told Daily Variety. “True crime has always been a passion of mine. But this was not just a murder story. There is also a unique love story, elevating this film above noir crime and making it universal.”

Cox said he and the other scribes had, after looking over all the second-hand material on the murders, interviewed Holmes’ ex-wife and his girlfriend at the time. Both have been involved in the project creatively.

Cox said Kilmer was always his first choice to play Holmes, who died in 1988 of AIDS complications.

Lions Gate execs overseeing the project are Michael Pasteornek, Marc Butan and Peter Block. Exec producer is Peter Kleidman.

“Wonderland” is not the first project inspired by the Wonderland murders: Killer Films and Magnet Entertainment are developing “Superstar 81,” penned by Tristan Patterson, which like “Boogie Nights” sets a fictional protagonist in the porn world.

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