MTV tunes up movies

Cabler's pics serve as 'backdoor pilots'

MTV announced production on two new films and development of a third, as part of plans to present one original movie every quarter, beginning next year.

The news furthers MTV’s recent ventures into live-action scripted programming, following the cabler’s greenlight earlier this month of scripted series “Hard Times.”

“You can take bigger creative risks with a TV movie as a one-off,” MTV senior veep of production Chris Linn told Daily Variety. “TV movies can act as backdoor pilots for us.”

“This gives a chance to work with a whole new group of people and explore subjects that aren’t already explored on our network.”

Director Jacob Gentry has already completed shooting in Atlanta for “My Super Psycho Sweet 16,” from a script by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas. Lauren McKnight, Chris Zylka and Matt Angel star in the horror movie set at a roller-rink party.

MTV plans to air “My Super Psycho” in October after a limited theatrical release earlier that month — a practice MTV will consider repeating on a case-by-case basis. Maggie Malina is exec producing the film.

Production also has begun on “Turn the Beat Around,” a competitive dance story set in Los Angeles that will be directed by Bradley Walsh with a mix of hip-hop and disco choreography by Tre Armstrong. Pic features Romina D’Ugo, Adam Taylor Brooks, David Giuntoli and Brooklyn Sudano, the daughter of ’70s disco icon Donna Summer.

Tony Krantz of Flame Ventures and Steve Levitan of Protocol Entertainment are exec producers of “Beat.”

In addition, MTV is developing “Made,” a fictional pic inspired by the network’s nonscripted self-improvement series. The drama will tell the story of a cheerleader who helps a band nerd make the squad. Bob Kusbit and Francis Lyons are exec producing.

“It’s kind of a brand around ‘Made,’ where you have someone aspiring to be something different,” Linn said. “You follow their journey of how they get there — it’s a similar idea, but as a scripted comedy.”

Linn said MTV hopes to build a surplus of films to meet its quarterly broadcast plan.

“The goal would be to get ahead of the game,” he said. “We have several projects that are in development, and we expect more greenlights to be coming in the near future.”

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