“Mary Reilly,” the Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde love story about a “triangular” relationship with a young maid, will be produced by Ned Tanen and Nancy Graham Tanen for TriStar Pictures via their Channel Prods.
“Dangerous Liaisons” helmer Stephen Frears will be reteamed with “Liaisons” Oscar-winning scripter Christopher Hampton on “Reilly,” which is on the “super fast track,” sources said Monday.
Pic will be budgeted around $ 20 million.
The new team replaces producer Denise Di Novi and exec producers Cary Woods and Robert Fried, who begged off the project when “Batman” director Tim Burton bowed out. Burton reportedly refused to do “Mary Reilly” because Sony Pictures Entertainment put his B&W labor of love “Ed Wood” into turnaround (Daily Variety , May 4).
Instead, pic will be co-produced by the former Paramount and Universal president, Ned Tanen, who greenlighted such pix as “Fatal Attraction” and “Ghost ,” and is known for snatching “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” out of turnaround from Columbia Pictures for Universal during his tenure. Tanen set up shop with Sony Pictures Entertainment last year with a very “autonomous” output deal (Daily Variety, Feb. 4, 1992).
Hampton’s script of “Mary Reilly” is based on the novel of the same name by Valerie Martin. Martin’s manager Lynn Pleshette will exec produce.
TriStar Pictures production prexy Stacey Lassally — one exec who’s been nurturing the project since her tenure at Warner Bros. — is thrilled there’s a production team finally in place.
“It’s been a long haul but I think it’s going to be a very good movie,” Lassally said. “I think it’s going to be very adult and very sexy. It’s really a love story between two people. Jekyll loves her chastely and purely, and Hyde loves her libidinously.”
Set in London in 1886, story is told through the eyes of Mary, a beautiful 22 -year-old who was abused as a child and is searching for an authority figure. Casting is under way in England. No thesps are attached.
London-based Norma Haymen will likely co-produce, sources confirmed, and the Tanen duo will be abroad as early as next week to meet with Frears.
If all goes as planned, pic will be before cameras in England by fall.
Pic marks the third in Channel’s deal with Sony. “We are pleased with this partnership,” Lassally explained.
Channelalready has produced “Cops and Robbersons,” the tale of a suburban dad (Chevy Chase) who gets to fulfill his fantasies when his house is used as a stake-out by a hard-as-nails cop (Jack Palance).
The Tanens have also produced “Guarding Tess”– directed by Hugh Wilson — a heartfelt comedy about a secret service agent (Nicolas Cage) and his relationship with a former first lady (Shirley MacLaine).
“You couldn’t ask for better partners in terms of their dedication and collective experience,” said Lassally.