Writer, producer team for genre projects

“Watchmen” co-writer David Hayter has teamed with producer Benedict Carver to form Dark Hero Studios, a company that will generate film, TV, Internet and vidgame projects in the action, sci-fi and horror genres.

Formation of the company comes as Hayter prepares to make his directorial debut on his werewolf thriller script “Slaughter’s Road,” with Carver producing along with Steven Paul through Crystal Sky Prods. Production begins in the summer.

Hayter said Thomas Dekker (“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) will star, and Ray Stevenson (“Rome”) is in talks to star alongside Dekker.

Dark Hero begins its slate of projects with “Demonology,” which Hayter wrote and will direct, and the company will set up graphic novels, comicbooks, vidgame properties and original genre scripts for movie treatment. Sarah Freudeman will be Dark Hero’s director of development.

Carver and Hayter said they will tie down independent financing shortly, setting up a company that will finance through pre-sales and equity so that Dark Hero can hang onto negative ownership and build a library of films.

“Many people would love to have the studio-based producer gig, but if you want to build asset value through a library, you have to be more entrepreneurial and avoid giving away a lot of rights upfront,” Carver said. “David will create, write and direct movies and TV series for the company, but he’ll also be a magnet for other writers and directors to work with us. “

Hayter’s script credits include “X-Men,” “X2″ and “The Scorpion King” (he co-wrote “Watchmen” with Alex Tse)

Carver is prexy of Crystal Sky, and he will produce “Slaughter’s Road” there (and probably other pics down the line), but he is transitioning out of the banner within the next few weeks. Prior to his Crystal Sky gig, Carver was senior veep of acquisitions and co-productions at Screen Gems. Before that, he was a film reporter at Daily Variety. Carver produced “Doomsday” and the upcoming film based on the Namco vidgame “Tekken.”

Hayter said he hatched “Slaughter’s Road” after he was offered a slew of werewolf movies and found enough flaws in each to never want to make such a pic; genre-savvy friends changed his mind.

Hayter’s “Demonology” grew out of his experiences attending an international high school in Japan.

“It’s about an American kid who goes to one of these schools in Belgium, but it brings my own horrible experiences of school to life,” Hayter said.

Aside from the new projects, Hayter has also found himself campaigning to get respect for “Watchmen,” which hasn’t so far lived up to blockbuster projections (the film’s domestic gross fell off 67% in its second weekend).

“It’s odd for a picture to gross $63 million in its first four days and have people wonder if it’s a failure,” he said. ENDS

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