Cunningham sees in 'Dark'

Director David Cunningham has veered from “The Path to 9/11″ to “The Dark Is Rising,” a fantasy film that kicks off the co-financing alliance Walden Media and 20th Century Fox forged in August.

Walden Media brass are hopeful the new project will have franchise potential similar to that of its last major young adult novel adaptation, “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

Part of a five-book series by Susan Cooper, “The Dark Is Rising” focuses on a youth who discovers at age 11 that he’s a Sign Seeker, last of a group of immortals dedicated to fighting a growing presence of dark forces. He comes to the realization that he’s charged with saving the world.

Walden Media has the other titles under option.

Cunningham has already headed to Romania, where he’ll prep the film for an early 2007 start and a Sept. 28release. Deal reunites Cunningham with producer Marc Platt, who also produced the controversial ABC mini about the events leading up to the World Trade Center terror attacks.

That project has proved to be a steppingstone for its director as well as its writer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, who just signed to rewrite a Ralph Pezzullo script for “Jawbreaker,” a film about the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan and hunt for Osama bin Laden that Oliver Stone will direct for Paramount.

Cunningham, who previously dabbled in family fare by directing the ABC miniseries adaptation of “Little House on the Prairie,” is repped by WMA

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