Eisner comic comes to bigscreen

Lionsgate has acquired domestic and U.K. distribution rights to “The Spirit,” a live adaptation of the classic Will Eisner comicbook series. Frank Miller wrote the script and will direct.

Deal marks the start of a multipicture pact under which Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment will co-finance and co-produce together. Odd Lot partners Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete are showing a finished script by Miller and will broker overseas territories during Cannes.

The Spirit is a man who fakes his own death so he can fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His nemesis is the Octopus, who kills those unlucky enough to see his face and is looking to wipe out the entire city. Miller, who first got behind the camera to co-direct “Sin City” with Robert Rodriguez, will make “The Spirit” his first solo helming effort. Miller created the graphic novels that were adapted into the films “Sin City” and “300,” and the production start of “The Spirit” will be influenced by the start date of the “Sin City” sequel that Miller will make with Rodriguez.

“Will was a dear friend, a mentor, and translating his vision to the screen will be a labor of love,” Miller said.”The Spirit” will be produced by Pritzker and Del Prete, along with Lionsgate’s Mike Paseornek and Batfilm’s Michael Uslan. Benjamin Melniker will exec produce with Steve Maier, and Linda McDonough and F.J. DeSanto are co-producers.

Frank Miller’s “vision is perfectly matched to that of Eisner,” said Lionsgate Theatrical Films prexy Tom Ortenberg.

Odd Lot is also mobilizing a remake of “The Lavender Hill Mob” with director Dean Parisot, and “Sense and Sensibilidad,” a Latino version of the Jane Austen classic to be directed by “Woman on Top” helmer Fina Torres.

Odd Lot Intl. is selling the film in Cannes.

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