'Massacre' maven sets multiple projects
With “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” topping the weekend box office, producer Mike Fleiss is already plotting another killing — along with two new film projects, a scripted half-hour pilot at the WB and a top-secret reality show for ABC.
Fleiss told Daily Variety that he and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes have begun early conversations about a sequel to Marcus Nispel’s reconfiguration of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” which was originally directed in 1974 by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel.
“Texas Chainsaw” is “my favorite horror movie of all time,” Fleiss told Daily Variety. “I have literally seen it hundreds of times. I didn’t have cable and I had it on constant loop.”
Fleiss says that going forward, he expects to split his time almost evenly between feature and television projects.
On his future film slate is a high-concept comedy that would be directed by Brett Ratner. He’s also preparing to a new take on another classic horror pic, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” penned by Steve Niles, writer of the classic vampire comic “30 Days of Night.”
“I like things that make money,” Fleiss said. “Controversial and high-concept has worked in TV, and I think it could also work in the movies.”
As for television, Fleiss continues to move into scripted series. He and thesp-producer Dave Sheridan (“Ghost World”) have snagged a pilot commitment from the WB for a half-hour comedy that will mix a few reality elements into an otherwise scripted skein.
“It’s basically Dave living in a trailer trying to have a happy life in Los Angeles,” Fleiss said of the hybrid half-hour. Sheridan, repped by CAA and Management 360, will write, star and exec produce with Fleiss.
Frog has also officially greenlit a third season of “High School Reunion,” which snagged solid ratings in its first run last spring. Second cycle of the reality skein is slated for midseason on the WB.
Over at ABC, where “The Bachelor” franchise continues to do well opposite increasingly tough competish, Fleiss has set up a new reality project. Uncharacteristically for Fleiss, however, he declined to give many details about the Telepictures-produced skein.
“It’s a reality show unlike any I’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s not violent, but it’s more in the ‘Kill Bill’ vein than a relationship show.”
As for features, Fleiss, who’s credited as co-director on Universal’s reality spring break movie “The Quest,” says he may want to helm a scripted feature at some point, too.
“I think that might be cool (but) it’s a very hard job to do, after watching Marcus. He’s the reason (‘Texas Chainsaw’) is cool.”
Pop culture pundit
In addition to his film and TV projects, Fleiss has also done a few gigs as a corporate speaker, advising both McDonald’s and Nike staffers on the latest trends in pop culture and TV.
CAA-repped Fleiss is constantly brainstorming new ideas, in part because of his nagging sense of paranoia.
“You’ve got to be paranoid,” he said. “You’ve always got to expect the worst. I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas, just to make the pain in my stomach go away.”