E. Ncholas Mariani penned oater screenplay

GK Films is looking to the West, acquiring E. Nicholas Mariani’s Western screenplay “Desperate Hours” with Infinitum Nihil.

GK Films’ Graham King and Tim Headington and Infinitum Nihil’s Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski are producing.

Screenplay, in the vein of “High Noon,” centers on a widowed rancher who bands together with his neighbors to battle a group of mobsters who have come from the industrialized East looking to overtake the Western town and collect a girl with a mysterious past. The old and new worlds collide, leading to an explosive showdown.

Infinitum Nihil, headed by Depp and Dombrowski, has a first-look deal with GK Films. The two companies produced Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and are in post-production on “Dark Shadows” for Warner Bros. with Depp starring and producing with Tim Burton, who’s also directing. Infinitum Nihil and GK Films also share projects in development at Warners, including “Shantaram,” “Attica” “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters” and “Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates.”

GK Films recently signed “Hugo” star Asa Butterfield to an overall two-year deal and is developing an adaptation of “Jersey Boys,” as well as the untitled Freddie Mercury story and an original screenplay by Robert Towne of “The Battle of Britain.”

Mariani is also penning “Ploesti” for Alcon and 2S, chronicling the deadliest day in U.S. Air Force History and the love story between a captured pilot and the Romanian princess who risked everything to save his life.

Depp and Mariani are repped by UTA. Mariani is managed by Circle of Confusion.

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