Picturehouse warms to ‘Ice’

Thesp Theron controls rights to Richard-penned drama

Picturehouse and New Line Intl. will team with Charlize Theron’s Denver and Delilah Films to make “The Ice at the Bottom of the World,” a drama that Theron will star in and produce.

Production will begin later this year.

Deal puts Theron back in business with Picturehouse head Bob Berney, who ran Newmarket and distributed “Monster,” the last film Theron produced and the one that won her the actress Oscar.

Just as Theron was a hands-on participant in that project, she has been similarly enterprising on “Ice.” The film is set up to be bank-financed through New Line and handled as a negative pickup. In the deal orchestrated by One Entertainment and her attorney Steve Warren, Theron will wind up owning the negative.

For several years, Theron has controlled the rights to the drama, which Mark Richard scripted from his fictional short story.

It’s set in the Chesapeake Bay, where a Navy captain reluctantly retires for health reasons. After years of neglecting his family while at sea, the grizzled veteran throws his dysfunctional family into chaos. Theron will play one of his daughters, who returns home a heroin addict and the single mother of a mixed-race child.

Theron, who most recently starred in “North Country” and “Aeon Flux,” hasn’t chosen the next film and “Ice” is a possibility for that slot, depending on how quickly a director and cast are set.

“I know that Bob and I are creatively aligned and that together we will bring the story to the screen in a most potent way,” Theron said.

Berney said Theron brought the project to him and that he was eager to have her involved behind the scenes, as well as being onscreen.

“We had a great partnership on ‘Monster.’ She has the eye, the energy and a down-to-earth sensibility for knowing how hard to you have to work to make an independent film a success,” Berney said.

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