Bigel/Mailer using ‘Code’ to enter Brazil

Shingle plans to continue shooting pix abroad

U.S. producers will lense thriller “Genesis Code” in Brazil as part of a pioneering plan to produce U.S. pics in the country on a regular basis.

Co-producer Bigel/Mailer Films (“Empire”) plans to shoot other projects in Brazil soon after it wraps “Genesis Code,” according to Michael Mailer.

“We hope to open the floodgates to U.S. production in Brazil,” he said. Favorable rates for services and labor, rich natural resources and upgraded studio facilities have made Brazil more attractive than ever, he said.

Andy Garcia is attached to play the lead in this $22 million adaptation of the John Case thriller. Hugh Hudson is in talks to direct. Morgan Creek/Warner Bros. will handle U.S. distribution while Senator Intl. holds world sales rights. Italy’s Eagle Pictures is a co-producer.

A newly refurbished Vera Cruz Studio in Sao Bernardo plays a key role in the plans. Bigel/Mailer will shoot at least two of its pics here.

“Genesis Code” co-producer Scorpion Prods., a U.S. Brazilian producer with offices in Los Angeles and Sao Bernardo, is also on the lookout for more U.S. co-productions.

“Below-the-line production costs are about one-third (what they are) in the U.S. We can make the dollar go a long way here,” said Scorpion president Mario Romano.

While there have been several U.S. productions in Brazil in the past, there has never been a permanent production center for U.S. pics in the country.

Bigel/Mailer’s upcoming projects at the Vera Cruz studio include the $12 million drama “After the Gods,” with Rupert Wainwright (“Stigmata”) attached to direct, and the $6 million pic “Nothing to Declare,” based on the prison memoirs of writer Taki. It will be the debut feature of U.K. commercials director Malcolm Venville.

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