Miramax angling to pick up ‘Fiction’

Miramax Films is among several companies negotiating to acquire screenwriter/director Quentin Tarantino’s low-budget black comedy “Pulp Fiction, ” it was confirmed Thursday.

Miramax has put in a bid for the project after rights controlled by TriStar Pictures reverted back to the filmmaker earlier this month.

Several other production companies are bidding for the project, including offers that cover both worldwide and split domestic/foreign packages. A decision is expected within days, and sources say Miramax is the front-runner.

A contemporary, urban black comedy, “Pulp Fiction” is structured as three separate stories centered on the criminal element.

Tarantino reportedly wants to go into pre-production as soon as a production and distribution pact is put in place. Casting is expected to start within 14 days.

To be produced by Lawrence Bender and executive produced by Michael Shamberg, Danny DeVito and Stacey Sher, “Pulp Fiction” will be Tarantino’s directorial follow-up to his “Reservoir Dogs.”

TriStar ponied up with a reported $ 900,000 more than a year ago for a package that included provisions calling for Tarantino to develop, write and direct “Pulp Fiction” (Daily Variety, Dec. 19, 1991). It is believed the original deal with TriStar will be remade with the triumphant bidder.

For Miramax, “Pulp Fiction” would mark one of the most aggressive deals by company co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein since selling the company to Walt Disney Co. in April.

Offers for “Pulp Fiction” are being handled by William Morris Agency senior VP Mike Simpson and WMA agent Lee Stollman, with the assistance of attorney Carlos Goodman of the entertainment law firm Lichter, Grossman & Nichols. Neither Simpson nor Stollman could be reached for comment.