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New Line taps Bottin for ‘Freddy vs. Jason’

:New Line Cinema is sealing a deal with special effects wiz Rob Bottin to direct the much-awaited battle between Freddy Krueger, the scissor-fingered slasher of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films, and Jason Voorhees, the lunatic bad boy of the “Friday the 13th” series.

More than ears will be flying in “Freddy vs. Jason,” in which the two horrific killers will face off over bragging rights to the powers of the dark side.

The film would mark Bottin’s debut as a feature director, after a lengthy career as a special effects maven. Sean Cunningham is attached as an executive producer. New Line’s prexy of production, Michael DeLuca, and director of development, Brian Witten, will oversee the project for the studio.

“Rather than revisit old territory,” Bottin said, “my intention is to celebrate these characters by way of re-invention — elevating them both to a completely new level of horror, using state-of-the-art techniques. They will be reborn in a bigger-than-life way.”

Bottin’s hiring ignites a project that has been brewing ever since New Line — which had released all seven of the “Nightmare” series — acquired the rights to the “Friday the 13th” series from Paramount. New Line released the ninth “13th” film, “Jason Goes to Hell,” in 1993.

The company got a taste of the response such a pairing might expect when a short promo reel for “Freddy vs. Jason” was screened at this year’s Showest confab; it received wild applause and howling from the gathered exhibitors.

While Bottin will not write the screenplay, he has submitted a scene-by-scene breakdown of the film’s action and special effects, which he will oversee.

Bottin began his career at 14 as a protege of f/x makeup pioneer Rick Baker, working on such films as “King Kong” and “Star Wars.” He also created an eponymous production banner in 1977 — when he was only 18 years old.

During his career, Bottin has provided the special makeup and creature effects on such films as “The Howling,” “The Thing,” “Legend,” “Robocop,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Seven” and “Mission: Impossible.”

He received a special achievement Oscar in 1990 for his work on Paul Verhoeven’s sci-fi pic “Total Recall.

“Freddy vs. Jason” joins a storied list of films pitting major horror characters against each other, including the 1943 classic “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” starring Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi; “Godzilla vs. the Thing” in 1966; “Billy the Kid vs. Dracula”; and “Dracula vs. Frankenstein.”

ICM’s Robert Newman, Paul Hook and Jacqueline Fuchs brokered the deal on Bottin’s behalf.

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