Shingle's first pic to be 'Passage' adaptation

Screenwriter Dennis Osborne and Jackie Autry have teamed up to form L.A.-based independent film company Control Freak Prods.

First pic to be produced by Osborne and Autry under their new company will be “Birds of Passage,” based on British author Bernice Rubens’ novel.

Pic is being independently and privately financed. As yet no director or cast is attached, though the intention is to start shooting next May in L.A. and Venice, Italy.

“Passage” is the story of two sixtysomething widows on a Mediterranean cruise who realize through a series of dark and disturbing incidents that you can mature and come into your own at any age.

Company intends to produce adult dramas, comedies and suspense thrillers each year and will produce film, TV and theater.

“I tend to write material that is sophisticated in nature with strong, defined characters and stories with a solid moral center,” Osborne said. “Jackie and I have decided that the best way to make quality projects is to keep things small and cut out the development process entirely by generating the material ourselves and funding it independently. It seems like the only sensible thing left for writers of original material to do.”

Weary auds

Autry added: “I think audiences have grown weary of projects developed from a marketing perspective and we believe they are wanting stories that shock and surprise again. ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ and ‘American Beauty’ are just two examples of films that prove there is a huge adult audience out there waiting for stories that entertain as well as inspire.”

Shingle is also developing “Filthy Rich,” a dark comedy about a Kennedyesque American family and the history of mysterious tragedies they suffer through; “Only a Woman,” a musical comedy about a young woman’s involvement with the music industry; and “The Ascent of Icarus,” a sci-fi thriller once developed as a prequel to “Blade Runner” that Ridley Scott was at one time attached to produce and direct.

Batting lineup

Autry was formerly director and president of Golden West Broadcasters and the only woman ever to serve on the Major League Baseball Executive Council Oversight Committee and as a member of the board of directors. With Gene Autry, her husband of 17 years, she was also the owner of the Anaheim Angels until Disney purchased the team after her husband’s death in 1998.

Osborne was an actor who started writing theater under the tutelage of Stephen Sondheim in New York. He sold his first screenplay, “Crossing Belmont,” to Scott Rudin and the comedy “Boomerang” to Disney, which he is co-producing with Reese Witherspoon’s Type A Films.

Rubens’ novels “I Sent a Letter to My Love” and “Madame Sousatzka” were previously adapted for the screen.

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