Frog leaping into ‘Lagoon’

Redo to focus more on sweeping adventure, love story

The WB will sail to “The Blue Lagoon” for one of its first original TV movie events.

Frog has ordered a script from Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are behind the adventure telepic, along with Sony Pictures Television. “Blue Lagoon” revolves around a young man and woman forced to survive when they’re marooned on a deserted island.

Project is loosely based on the 1980 feature starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, which in turn was a remake of the 1949 film. But this won’t be your father’s — or your grandfather’s — “Blue Lagoon.”

According to Zadan, the new take on “Blue Lagoon” will focus more on the sweeping adventure and love story between the two main characters and less on the softcore elements that made the 1980 movie rather notorious.

Zadan said the idea to produce a remake came about after the Storyline duo watched the success of “Survivor” and fell in love with the Tom Hanks movie “Castaway.”

“We wondered if there was a way to do a movie that took the best elements of ‘The Blue Lagoon,’ ‘Survivor’ and ‘Castaway,’ ” Zadan said. “But we can’t turn out some cheap, exploitative movie. We’ve figured out a spin that makes it really original and fresh, and something we know will be classy.”

Shannon Bradley (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) is on board to write the script, which will take a contemporary approach to the story.

“I think it’s a slam dunk for us,” said Tana Jamieson, who joined the WB earlier this year as senior VP of the net’s new original movies division (Daily Variety, Jan. 13). “We’re looking for movies that are very marketable and promotable yet fit with the WB brand. With the ‘Blue Lagoon’ hook, we’ll be able to attract both older and younger demos.”

Telepics like “The Blue Lagoon” is also part of a concerted effort by Storyline to expand its brand beyond what it’s best known for, award-winning musicals and biopics.

That effort also extends to “Suburban Madness,” Storyline’s CBS telepic about the Houston woman who killed her husband by running him over with her car (Daily Variety, Jan. 12).

“We’re playing in another gene pool, trying something different,” Zadan said. “We can keep doing our biopics, and when a musical comes along that we love, we’ll do that as well. But there becomes a point where you have to experiment in other ways. I love trying new things at this point. We don’t want to repeat ourselves.”

Sony Pictures TV movie topper Helen Verno is overseeing “Blue Lagoon” for the studio, while Dave Mace will serve as a producer and oversee the telepic for Storyline.

Jamieson said she’d hoped to get in business with Storyline to help launch her new division’s output.

“Storyline has such a great reputation for casting, marketing and PR,” she said. “Because of their feature success they’re very much in touch with talent, and they’ll be able to attract people who would normally not do TV. It’s a pretty easy sell with those guys on top of it.”

Frog first jumped into the telepic pond last year when it teamed with Warner Bros. TV, Revolution and Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films to develop a two-hour pic based on the bestselling American Girls line of books and dolls from Pleasan Co. and Mattel (Daily Variety, Feb. 13, 2003.) Pic is casting now for an expected November premiere date.

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