New film based on bestselling Christian-themed books

Nicolas Cage is in negotiations to topline “Left Behind,” a mainstream reboot of the Christian-themed movie trilogy that will mark the first film from Stoney Lake Entertainment, a new production company led by Paul Lalonde of faith-oriented banner Cloud Ten Pictures.

The “Left Behind” franchise is based on the series of books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins that have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide.

Lalonde will produce the action thriller with Michael Walker, and co-write the script with John Patus, who wrote 2005′s “Left Behind: World at War.” Veteran stunt coordinator and second unit director Vic Armstrong (“Army of One”) is in talks to direct.

Project, budgeted in the $15 million range, was shopped at last year’s American Film Market. Production is expected to begin in early spring with an eye toward wide release in the fourth quarter of 2013. Lalonde told Variety that there is a theatrical guarantee in place from distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films.

The Christian-themed “Left Behind” reboot will follow a group of survivors during the first few hours after the Rapture.

The original trilogy, which launched in 2001, starred Kirk Cameron.

The faith-based film market continues to prove itself profitable Stateside, with Sony having the greatest success thanks to “Courageous,” a $2 million pic that grossed $34 million domestically and “Soul Surfer,” which took in $43 million in the U.S.

Cage, who recently signed on to topline Richard Kelly’s true-crime thriller “Amicus,” previously starred in Alex Proyas’s “Knowing,” which also featured religious themes. Thesp, who will next be seen opposite John Cusack in Emmett/Furla Films’ serial-killer thriller “Frozen Ground,” is attached to star in two other indie pics: William Friedkin’s “I Am Wrath” and David Gordon Green’s “Joe.”

Cage repped by CAA, KLWGN Entertainment and attorney Jacob A. Bloom.

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