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Duo mining ‘Aztec’ gold

Pic centers on playing dangerous game of Ullamalitzli

After going on a “Eurotrip,” the Montecito Picture Co. plans to travel back in time, acquiring Jeff Schaffer and Ted Humphrey’s action pitch “Aztec.”

Set in 1519 at the height of the Aztec civilization, project revolves around a slave named Tez who plays a brutal ball game called Ullamalitzli, in which the loser is sacrificed.

Tez and his team must play the game and try to stay alive long enough to orchestrate a plan to escape the capital city of Tenochtitlan with a fortune in gold.

DreamWorks-based Montecito, headed by Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman, paid mid-six figures to pick up the project. Schaffer and Humphrey will pen the script.

Company most recently produced the laffer “Eurotrip,” which Schaffer co-wrote and directed with Alex Berg and David Mandel. The United Talent Agency-repped scribe also penned Universal and Imagine’s “The Cat in the Hat” with Berg and Mandel.

Todd Hallowell, an exec producer on many of Imagine Entertainment’s pics, including its recent “The Alamo,” “The Missing” and “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as its upcoming “The Cinderella Man,” has come on board “Aztec” as a producer.

Schaffer studied Mesoamerican civilizations in college, where he learned about the game of Ullamalitzli.

“Aztec” marks the first time Schaffer and Humphrey, who have been friends since meeting in high school, have collaborated on a project.

Humphrey, who is repped by the William Morris Agency, has penned the HBO pic “215,” Hyde Park and Mandeville’s “Top of the World” and Alcon Entertainment’s “The Rook.” He also scripted TBS movie “The Triangle” and was a writer on the CBS drama “Now and Again.”

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