×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Carolco gets Harlin for big bucs

Still riding high on “Cliffhanger’s” box office wave, helmer Renny Harlin will climb down the mountain and hit the high seas on the pirate adventure pic “Cutthroat Island” for Carolco, the director announced Wednesday. Mario Kassar will exec produce.

No casting has been set for the pic, which toplines two major maleleads and one big female role. The pic, which is currently in pre-production, has not yet announced a distributor. It is fully funded by Carolco, Harlin said.

Set in 1659 around the lawless Caribbean enclaves of Tortuga and Hispaniola, the yarn finds a band of pirate captains burying a shared treasure on an island, promising to return years later and split the loot. The plan goes awry when gold-hungry renegades find out about the doubloons and try to beat them to it.

“The female character is actually the key element in the story, and she doesn’t even know it,” Harlin hinted. “You could say she’s like a ‘living map’ for the treasure.”

Harlin, who characterized the project as a “big-budget movie,” also promised lots of physical supporting roles. “Whoever is in this movie has to follow the pirates’ motto: No prey, no pay,” said Harlin. “They must be willing to carry the sword.”

The script was penned by Michael Beckner from a story by Beckner and Jim Gorman. Laurence Mark, Gorman and Harlin will produce with John Baldecchi, and cameras are set to roll at an undetermined Caribbean locale in January. Ironically, Harlin recently was looking to replace “Total Recall” helmer Paul Verhoeven as captain aboard Columbia’s femme buccaneer epic “Mistress of the Seas,” which briefly was to star Harlin’s fiancee, Geena Davis. After some last-minute studio changes that reportedly upped the ante on violence and cut the Davis role in favor of more screen time for a male co-star, Davis exited the pic, along with Harlin.

“After Geena Davis left I lost interest,” Harlin said. “And the (script) changes made it seem like something other than what I read. … I understand (Columbia) was going for a hard R rating. ‘Cutthroat’ is very different.”

After making pix with a higher body count earlier in his career, Harlin promises this Seven Seas outing will primarily target the PG-13 audience.

“My goal now is to make an event movie that will take me away from violence and toward broad-based family movies,” the mellower Harlin said. “It’s much more interesting for a director to create a whole world for the characters instead of just people shooting each other.”

This world will primarily consist of real galleon-sized man-of-war ships used in previous pix or exhibitions. Top special-effects shops Boss Films, Industrial Light & Magic and Digital Domain are being courted to make several detailed models of the large vessels, in addition to matte and digital work.

Finnish helmer Harlin’s climb to the B.O. summit started with the hugely successful teen slasher sequel “A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master.”

But it was his direction of Bruce Willis in “Die Hard 2” that opened up the trail to “Cliffhanger.” The Mario Kassar-produced Sylvester Stallone pic has grossed $ 135 million to date worldwide.

Harlin’s debut as a producer for his company Midnight Sun Pictures was “Rambling Rose,” which starred Robert Duvall, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd.

Mark produced the Melanie Griffith pic “Working Girl,””True Colors,””One Good Cop” and “The Adventures of Huck Finn,” the latter with Baldecchi, development VP at Mark’s production outfit.

More Film

  • David Picker dead

    David Picker, Studio Chief Who Acquired James Bond Novels for UA, Dies at 87

    David Picker, who headed United Artists, Paramount and Columbia’s motion picture divisions and was known for forging relationships with groundbreaking filmmakers and material, died Saturday in New York. He was 87 and had been suffering from colon cancer. MGM tweeted, “We are saddened to hear that a member of the United Artists family has passed [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International

    'Curse of La Llorona' Tops International Box Office With $30 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” led the way at the international box office, summoning $30 million when it opened in 71 foreign markets. The supernatural thriller collected $26.5 million in North America for a global start of $56.5 million. “La Llorona,” based on the Mexican folklore about the Weeping Woman, [...]

  • Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona'

    Box Office: 'Curse of La Llorona' Wins Worst Easter Weekend in Over a Decade

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “The Curse of La Llorona” ascended to the top of domestic box office charts, conjuring $26.5 million when it opened in 3,372 North American theaters. “La Llorona” is the latest horror movie to outperform expectations, further cementing the genre as one of the most reliable box office draws. Even so, [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content