After conquering TV and theatrical films, “Star Trek” is about to explore the final frontier of filmed entertainment: Imax 3-D. Paramount and “Trek” executive producer Rick Berman are in serious discussions with Imax Corp. to create a “Star Trek” film.
The film will be shot in state-of-the-art Imax 3-D with CGI graphics, with a running time of about 40 minutes and a budget of around $10 million.
There’s no deal yet and no script, but sources said the plan on the drawing board would be either to use the cast from the “Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine” or “Voyager” series, or to cull characters from each. If that constellation of stars is unavailable, the third option is to assemble a new cast.
The development marks a warp-speed move forward for Imax, whose screen size and 3-D capabilities dwarf traditional moviehouses, but which so far has lacked a brand-name product like “Star Trek.” Most Imax pics have been docus, along with several fiction productions, including “L5: First City in Space” and the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed “Wings of Courage,” the latter produced by Sony and starring Val Kilmer.
Imax now has 150 theaters in 22 countries, with projected 20% screen growth for the next few years. Though the number of theaters is small compared to traditional hardtops, the ticket prices are about $9 per show, the films stay in theaters longer, and they can be shown up to 10 times per day.
Paramount and Berman, always looking for new ways to feed the “Trek” audience, are eager to jump into Imax, though it’s undecided whether the film will be financed jointly or only one will pick up the costs. The effort is being spearheaded by Berman, Imax chairman/co-CEO Bradley J. Wechsler and Andrew Gellis, Imax senior vice president of film. None of the principals would comment.
LUMIERE LANDS “STING” SCRIBE: Lumiere Films has landed “The Sting” scribe David S. Ward to write and direct “Warriors,” an ecological action-adventure to be shot in the Amazon and Manhattan. “It begins in the Amazon rainforest, where we meet an indigenous Amazonian from a Stone Age culture witnessing the destruction of his village by a corporate entity,” said Lumiere CEO Randolph Pitts. “His custom is to find the person responsible and kill them, and since this was done by a big corporation in Manhattan, he stows away on a ship to New York City and immediately goes after him.” He’s matched against a Gotham cop who comes to respect the rain-forest Rambo. The pic will be produced by Lumiere’s Lila Cazes and was originally scripted by Craig Mitchell and Hans Bauer, with Ward rewriting. He’s repped by CAA’s Jim Lefkowitz.
WINCOTT GETS “GUNSHY”: Coming off a starring role in “Alien Resurrection,” Michael Wincott has agreed to join William Petersen in “Gunshy,” an indie pic from Periscope Pictures, produced and written by Larry Gross (“This World, Then the Fireworks”) and directed by Jim Celentano (“Under the Hula Moon”). It involves the friendship among a down-and-out writer, a girl and a charming hit man. Wincott’s deal was made by manager Joan Hyler and ICM’s Steve Dontanville and Colton Gramm.
GROWING INTO A LEAD: Though Craig Sheffer’s been acting for years, he’s just now being treated as an adult. Sheffer, coming off the Lance Young-directed “Bliss,” will co-star in the Randal Kleiser-directed “Reasonable Doubt” along with Melanie Griffith, for Largo. “I’m finally starting to look like a grown man, where for years I didn’t seem to be aging,” he said. “Now I should have 20 years of leading man roles.” Sheffer’s troubled by the ratings problems facing Triumph Releasing’s “Bliss,” about a couple’s attempt to heal their relationship through intimacy. The ratings tussle has pushed the pic’s release date back to May 16, he said. “The hard time we’ve been given by the ratings board is not deserved,” he said. “The film’s not about sexuality, it’s about sensuality and intimacy. There are no hard-core sex scenes. We talk about it but don’t show it. Because of this, we haven’t even been able to get a trailer, and now the film’s crowded in with the big summer films.” Sheffer is repped by UTA’s David De Camillo and managed by Bradley Creamer.
JASON TEAMS WITH CHAMBERS: Producer/manager Melinda Jason has aligned with Chambers Production Corp., set up offices in Santa Monica and plans to produce two telepics with an eye toward branching into features. Chambers, a subsidiary of Chambers Communications Corp., is building a new film production facility in Oregon, and is part owner of Digital Artworks, an animation company. Jason said their first two projects together are fact-based telepics whose rights she’s still tying up. Separately, she’s producing several pics, including the hurricane action pic “Maelstrom” with Arnold Kopelson and Gary Goldstein at Warner Bros., and “Homeboy,” a comedy now in development at Fox Family Films with Trilogy Entertainment. The key man for Chambers Production Corp. will be executive vice president Matthew Tombers, who’ll split time between Hollywood and Oregon. Executive vice president Jack Lawrence will lobby Hollywood to shoot pics at the new Oregon facility, which opens this summer. Susannah Copi, Jason’s vice president of production, will develop literary material for Chambers.
PETER BEFORE THE CAMERAS: Peter Bogdanovich’s plan to work in New York this winter remains intact. The surprise is, he’s acting instead of directing. He was expected to helm the James Spader starrer formerly titled “Curtain Call.” That fell through, and now Bogdanovich will be looking for real curtain calls. He’s joining the cast of Noah Baumbach’s pic “Mr. Jealousy,” starring Eric Stoltz and Annabella Sciorra. Bogdanovich has signed on to play the role of Dr. Poke, the leader of a group therapy session frequented by Stoltz’s character.