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Russell ready to helm ‘Dead’

Holding Pictures banks on Niles novel

Holding Pictures has acquired rights to Steve Niles’ graphic novel “Wake the Dead” and set James V. Hart to write the script and Jay Russell to direct.

Niles wrote the graphic novel “30 Days of Night.”

Holding Pictures principal Charlie Lyons will produce, fully finance development and likely fund the film through principal photography.

Lyons previously teamed with Russell on “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep,” “Ladder 49” and “Tuck Everlasting.” While Hart’s most recent credits include “August Rush,” “Tuck Everlasting” and “Hook,” the scribe will be returning to terrain he covered in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

“The idea is to make a classic horror film, and what I liked was the combination of Jay, in a genre he’s wanted to experiment in for some time, with Jim, who is particularly skilled at this kind of voice, and with a world created by Steve, who has become a classic in the graphic novel world,” Lyons said.

Visual effects will be done by Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based Weta, which provided the f/x work on “The Water Horse.”

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