New Line farming out ‘Karma’

Hernandez-helmed pic will blend live-action with CGI

This article was updated on October 15, 2003.

New Line Cinema has given the go ahead to the Rock laffer “Instant Karma,” to be produced by visual f/x studio Digital Domain and “Shrek” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” scribes Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott.

Project, the second to be produced by Digital Domain, will blend live action and CGI to tell the story of a safecracker, played by Dwayne Johnson (aka the Rock), who dies and is reincarnated as a series of different animals, moving his way up the food chain.

New Line’s current commitment is to an option and a rewrite of the script.

Pierce Brosnan, Mira Sorvino, David Alan Grier and Eartha Kitt also star in the live-action elements, while Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Gene Wilder and the comedy troupe Broken Lizard provide voices of the animals.

Paul Hernandez will make his feature writing and directing bow on the pic, which is budgeted at $70 million. Production is expected to begin in April in New Orleans.

Hernandez also wrote Disney’s “Sky High,” about a high school for the children of superheroes.

Overseeing “Instant Karma” are New Line exec veep Mark Ordesky, exec VP of production Richard Brener and director of development Cale Boyter. “Instant Karma” is expected to be Ordesky’s pet project following the completion of his “Lord of the Rings” odyssey.

Digital Domain’s development exec Kevin Cooper will shepherd “Instant Karma” for the f/x house and create the pic’s computer-generated visuals.

Rossio and Elliott, who also penned the upcoming animated pics “Shrek 2” and “Tusker” at DreamWorks, will produce “Instant Karma” through their Scheherazade Prods. together with Digital Domain chairman-CEO Scott Ross.

Scribes have a close relationship with Digital Domain to produce a series of pics. They are also developing the thriller “Shadowplay.”

“Instant Karma” becomes the second film that Digital Domain will have produced after “Secondhand Lions,” also for New Line. Family laffer, which hit theaters in September, has generated $35 million at the B.O.

Company, best known for the Oscar-winning effects created for “Titanic,” has been looking for years to expand beyond serving solely as an f/x facility for hire and increase its revenues.

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