Eisner, Askarieh option Avalanche's vidgame franchise
Hollywood has a new high-flying hero to put on the bigscreen.Eric Eisner’s L+E Pictures has optioned the film rights to Avalanche Studios’ videogame franchise “Just Cause,” which it will develop with producer Adrian Askarieh, of Prime Universe Prods., before shopping it to the studios. Michael Ross (“Turistas”) will pen the script. Property revolves around Rico Rodriguez, aka the Scorpion, a black ops agent who carries out deadly missions for the U.S. government that come in the form of creating chaos and destabilizing rogue nations from within and turning the bad guys against each other. The character’s calling card is his grappling hook and penchant for aerial stunts with his unique parachute, putting him in unusual action scenarios like hijacking fighter jets in midair. The first installment of the game, published by Eidos Interactive in 2006, sold 1 million units. The sequel, released in March, through Eidos’ new parent Square Enix, has already doubled that sales figure. Askarieh already has a relationship with Eidos, having set up and produced a film version of its game franchise “Hitman” at Fox. A sequel is in the works. He is also producing the adaptation of Eidos actioner “Kane and Lynch” for Millennium Films and Lionsgate, with Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx attached to star. CAA worked with Askarieh to package “Just Cause” for independent financing rather than set it up at a studio first. Gersh repped Ross in the deal. Ross has also been tapped by 2929 Prods. to develop a script for the political thriller “Cartagena,” with Clive Owen attached to star, and has scripted remakes of “Jar City” for Overture and “Near Dark” for Platinum Dunes and Rogue Pictures. Eisner, son of former Disney chief Michael Eisner, is also developing a biopic on Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia that Amir Bar-Lev, director of docu “The Tillman Story,” will helm; Topper Lilien is scripting. Eisner and Bona Fide partners Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”) will produce. Film is based on the Robert Greenfield book “Dark Star,” an oral history of Garcia from family, friends and colleagues. Eisner formed L+E Pictures in 2006. Through it, he produced “Hamlet 2,” which was acquired at Sundance in 2008 by Focus Features for $10 million.