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Trio sweet on Candy comedy

Late thesp developed 'Father' with Koch in early '90s

Mandalay Integrated Media Entertainment, Prelude Pictures and the Hatchery are teaming to produce family comedy “Our Father,” based on a story created by the late John Candy about a priest transferred from Beverly Hills to Detroit.

Production is the first from the recently announced Mandalay-Prelude partnership aimed at tapping the market for family-friendly features (Daily Variety, Dec. 9).

Prelude topper Mark W. Koch developed “Our Father” with Candy while the thesp was in Jamaica filming “Cool Runnings.” He intended the pic to be his next project following completion of “Wagons East.” The thesp passed away in 1994.

Koch (“Lost in Space”) will produce along with Prelude prexy Daniel de Liege, Dan Angel (writer of “Door-to-Door”), David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud. Producers are aiming to start production in mid-2006 and hope to involve Candy’s friends in the project.

Story, penned by Gene Quintano, centers on a celeb-like priest who’s sent from a glitzy life in Southern California to a parish in an impoverished neighborhood in inner-city Detroit.

MIME is part of Mandalay Entertainment Group, chaired by Peter Guber; Prelude worked in the promotion and marketing of “The Passion of the Christ” via advance sales to faith-based orgs; the Hatchery recently announced plans for a feature adaptation of the horror-themed Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde.”

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