Action comedy gets summer start date

Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment has set a summer start date for “RocknRolla,” an action comedy that Guy Ritchie wrote and will direct. Production will begin in London in seven weeks.

Silver will produce with Ritchie, Steve Clark Hall and Susan Downey.

Pic harks back to Ritchie’s early films “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch,” fast-paced dramas that had strong ensembles, attitude and low budgets. In “RocknRolla,” a Russian mobster orchestrates a crooked land deal, putting millions of dollars up for grabs and attracting all of London’s criminal underworld. A dangerous crime lord, a sexy accountant, a corrupt politician and a band of petty thieves are among those double-crossing one another. Pic’s budget will be under $20 million.

“I loved Guy’s early British gangster movies, and when he showed me this script and said he wanted to make it right away, it was a strong opportunity to broaden the Dark Castle label to produce with international appeal. The plan is to go well beyond horror and make action comedies, thrillers and urban films.”

Pic becomes the second that Silver will finance since plugging Dark Castle into more than $240 million in production funding. The Dominic Sena-directed Kate Beckinsale starrer “Whiteout” is in production in Montreal, and the supernatural thriller “The Summoner” is earmarked for a fall start date.

Silver wants to finance two or three genre films per year under the label, as he makes larger-budget films for WB through his Silver Pictures banner. He just finished production on the David Dobkin-directed Vince Vaughn starrer “Fred Claus,” which WB will release for the holidays, and is ready to roll on “Speed Racer,” the first film to be directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski since they made “The Matrix” films with Silver.

Steve Richards and Navid McIlhargey will exec produce and Lauren Meek will be associate producer.

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