Osborne steps into ring for ‘Round Five’

Pic due to roll in Thailand in October

SYDNEY — “The Lord of the Rings” producer Barrie M. Osborne is limbering up for “Round Five,” a pic about an Asian-American who spends 20 years as a Buddhist monk after accidentally killing a friend in a Thai kick-boxing bout.

Scripted and to be helmed by L.A.-based Thai director-writer Wych Kaosayananda (“Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever”), pic is due to roll in Thailand in October, budgeted at $10 million-$12 million.

It will be Osborne’s first pic as a producer since the “Rings” trilogy. Most recently, he exec produced “Little Fish,” an Oz drama starring Cate Blanchett, and helmer Roger Donaldson’s “The World’s Fastest Indian” toplining Anthony Hopkins.

Osborne will share producing duties with Richard Keddie, with whom he worked on “Little Fish.”

“Round Five” will be the second pic co-financed by Mullis Capital, the Bangkok-based investment bank that backed “Little Fish.”

Keddie says casting is under way for the male lead and the co-lead, an American woman with whom he falls in love after leaving the monastery to help his family.

Osborne is also developing “The Alchemist,” based on the Paul Coelho novel about a boy’s Ulysses-like journey to search for hidden treasure near Egypt’s pyramids.

That pic will be directed by Laurence Fishburne, who will also play a role. Osborne says the project is being developed at Warner Bros. but will likely be financed independently, with Warner as the distrib.

On “The Alchemist,” Osborne is working with Charles Hannah, Megumi Fukasawa and Satoru Iseki, his fellow exec producers on “Fastest Indian.” Osborne says 10% of the profits from “Round Five” will be donated to a charity assisting recovery in Thailand after the recent tsunami

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