Helmer seduces MGM with ‘Succubus’ pitch

Prod'n on the lookout for scribe

“Daredevil” director Mark Steven Johnson has scared up an MGM pitch deal for “Succubus,” a horror film with comic elements that Johnson will direct right after he completes “Ghost Rider” with Nicolas Cage.

Pic centers on a cult of female demons who use their supermodel looks to seduce and steal the souls of men. Johnson will produce with Horseshoe Bay partner Gary Foster.

A “Succubus” scribe will be secured quickly, and Johnson and Foster will supervise development as Johnson directs Cage in the Columbia adaptation of the Marvel Comics character “Ghost Rider.” Johnson will then move over and direct a film he said aspires to the playful tone of “An American Werewolf in London.”

“The idea came to me after I lost a best friend to a girl,” Johnson said. “Every guy had a friend who essentially disappeared when he fell for a girl, even when you’re sure she’s not right for him. I’d been reading about the mythological female demon Succubus, with the whole seduction and stealing of the soul thing. It seemed like a great character and a way to tell a story about friendship and commitment.”

The film revolves around two friends. One’s a hunky girl magnet, the other a bright nebbish guy who always watches his friend get the girl. The handsome guy is shocked when his buddy is propositioned by a drop-dead beauty. When his pal goes AWOL and spends every second with his new girlfriend, the handsome friend seeks out the woman to find out her intention. She reveals her identity and intentions, and the pal dutifully decides to tear down a succubus network that threatens the sanctity of male bonding.

Johnson said he’s also tried to make sure femme auds take to the pic by making the villains “supermodels who are 6 feet tall and size zero, who never eat and who drive most women crazy when they see them in these magazines and feel that nobody looks like that,” he said.

Johnson and Foster forged the MGM deal as they near the start line on a redo of the classic Jerry Lewis comedy “The Bellboy.” The studio just did a table read with the script by Kevin Bisch and they are now looking to cast up the comedy.

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