Pic being earmarked as a feature film for Disney

Jerry Bruckheimer Films is negotiating a seven-figure deal to acquire the feature film rights to bestselling videogame “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” Pic is being earmarked as a feature film for Disney.

Deal includes a script being penned by game creator Jordan Mechner. John August is exec producing and supervising Mechner on the script.

Game, set in 9th century medieval Persia, tells the story of how a young adventurous prince who uncovers a dangerous artifact in a remote mountain kingdom and with the help of an enemy princess, must stop a despot from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy all mankind

Mechner says Bruckheimer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a touchstone for the adaptation. “Rather than do a straight beat-for-beat adaptation of the new videogame, we’re taking some cool elements from the game and using them to craft a new story — much as ‘Pirates’ did with the theme park ride.”

August says the character of the prince is like a 9th century Indiana Jones. “He’s fourth in line to the throne, with no shot of ever becoming king. So it’s given him permission to lead a very reckless and exciting life.”

Pic will be produced by Bruckheimer and exec produced by August, Bruckheimer Films’ Mike Stenson and Chad Oman and Mechner. Exec VP of production Jason Reed is overseeing the project for Disney.

“Prince of Persia” is one of the vidgame industry’s oldest franchises, first debuting for PCs in 1989. Game was both critically acclaimed and a bestseller, leading to sequels in 1993 and 1999. Latter incarnation, titled “Prince of Persia 3D,” was long-delayed and turned out to be a high-profile flop, putting the series on hiatus for four years.

French publisher Ubisoft picked up the rights and released a sequel last November, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” Game brought the series back to life, selling more than 2 million units worldwide in its first three months.

Mechner, repped in the deal by ICM’s vidgame and lit division, wrote and directed the doc “Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story” which won the 2003 IDA Award for best short.

August, who last produced “Go” in 1999, most recently penned Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” for Columbia Pictures. The UTA-repped writer has also penned Warner Bros.’ new version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for Burton, due for release in 2005.

Bruckheimer most recently produced the Johnny Depp starrer “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” He just wrapped Disney’s summer tentpole “King Arthur.”

(Ben Fritz contributed to this report.)

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