Hamburg making pic in English

'Mystery of Skeleton Island' first of a trilogy

BERLIN — Studio Hamburg Intl. Pictures is set to start production on English-language pic “The Mystery of Skeleton Island,” the first in a trilogy based on “The Three Investigators” books by the late Robert Arthur.

Filming will start next year in South Africa, with Florian Baxmeyer tapped to direct.

The E10 million ($13.4 million) pic, about three California teen detectives, is backed by German and South African coin. SHIP also is in talks with local private film funds and with major studios for an international distribution deal.

SHIP, launched last year to produce internationally marketable European co-prods budgeted at up to $20 million, is overseeing the local production of Robert Schwentke’s “Flightplan,” starring Jodie Foster.

The Touchstone Pictures/Imagine Entertainment thriller, about a woman whose daughter disappears from a plane during a flight from Berlin to the U.S., started lensing in Berlin on Monday. Peter Sarsgaard, Marlene Lawston and Sean Bean co-star.

SHIP is handling local production services for the pic and cooperating with Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures on the project.

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