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Hideo Nakata heads into ‘Chatroom’

Director set for psychological thriller

Hideo Nakata, the Japanese helmer of “The Ring Two,” “Ringu” and “Dark Water,” will direct “Chatroom,” a psychological thriller about teenagers who encourage each other’s destructive behavior. Pic, being sold by new sales company WestEnd Films, will be Nakata’s first original helming effort in English.

“Chatroom” was written by Enda Walsh as an adaptation of his own stage play. The Irish playwright won the Cannes Camera d’Or for first film in 2001 with his “Disco Pigs” and recently penned Steve McQueen’s “Hunger.”

Movie is produced by Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits at Ruby Films (“The Other Boleyn Girl,” “Brick Lane”) and “Hunger” producer Laura Hastings-Smith. It was developed and co-financed by Film4, and exec produced by Film4’s Katherine Butler. Lensing will begin in the spring in the U.K.

“Nakata has come up with something very visual, very conceptual, and situated somewhere between ‘Disturbia’ and ‘Cube,’ ” said WestEnd founder Eve Schoukroun.

Schoukroun was previously with U.K. sales operation Capitol Films and founded WestEnd earlier this year. The company, making its AFM debut, is also selling family comedy “City Island,” starring Andy Garcia, Emily Mortimer and Alan Arkin.

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