Hunting Lane developing 'Muscle' for cable network

Hunting Lane Films is showing some “Muscle,” launching development of a series for HBO based on Sam Fussell’s bodybuilding memoir, with “Blue Valentine” writer-director Derek Cianfrance attached.

“Muscle” is the first project from Hunting Lane’s new development fund for features budgeted between $6 million and $20 million along with scripted TV projects.

“Muscle” is set up in partnership with John Lesher and Adam Kassan’s Le Grisbi Prods. Lesher and Kassan will exec produce alongside Hunting Lane CEO Jamie Patricof. Fussell’s book, first published two decades ago, recounts his four-year immersion in the bodybuilding life. Fussell and Cianfrance will pen the script and serve as co-exec producers.

The announcement comes with HLF’s “Blue Valentine” having opened strongly for the Weinstein Co. with $291,607 at five playdates in five days.

“We noticed that there were more and more opportunities to acquire rights and develop projects now that the studios have decreased the number of producers with traditional overhead deals,” Patricof said.

The shingle has also hired former New Line staffer Mark Tuohy and promoted Katie McNeill to posts as creative executives.

HLF’s “Little Birds,” written and directed by first-timer Elgin James, will screen in competition at Sundance. The drama, starring Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kyle Gallner, Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth, tells the story of two 15-year-old girls who test the limits of their friendship when one follows the other in an escape to Los Angeles.

Hunting Lane’s credits include features “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” reality TV series “The Rachel Zoe Project” and Ice Cube’s doc “Straight Outta L.A.” It’s in development on a pair of pics: writer Justin Marks’ “Borderline,” with Ricardo de Montreuil directing, and Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines,” with Ryan Gosling attached to star.

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