Freddie Highmore in talks to star

Bavaria Pictures will fly with “Superhero,” a fantasy drama based on the bestseller “Death of a Superhero” by New Zealand author Anthony McCarten, who will direct from his own script.

Freddie Highmore is in talks to star.

Germany’s Jessica Schwarz (“Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family”) will co-star in the story of a teenage comicbook artist suffering from leukemia who escapes the harsh realities of life via his illustrated adventures, in which the indestructible Miracle Man battles his arch-nemesis, a mad scientist known as the Glove.

Astrid Kahmke and Philipp Kreuzer of Bavaria Pictures, the feature film production unit of Munich-based media powerhouse Bavaria Film, are co-producing with McCarten and Angela Littlejohn, who teamed on last year’s New Zealand comedy-drama “Show of Hands.”

Pic, budgeted at between $7 million and $10 million, will shoot most of the live-action scenes in New Zealand with animated sequences of the comicbook world rendered by Michael Coldewey’s Munich-based Trixter Film, which recently produced the CGI scenes for Stefan Ruzowitzky’s hit tyke pic “Lilly the Witch,” which Disney released here last week.

Regional Bavarian subsidy org FilmFernsehFonds Bayern has already approved $956,000 for the pic and producers are hoping to land coin from the Federal Film Board.

Set to start production this year, “Superhero” will be released domestically by Berlin-based distrib NFP.

McCarten’s novel has found critical acclaim and auds in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, where it picked up the Austrian Youth Literature Prize last year.

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