Chile helmer Graef-Marino under ‘Siege’

Weller and Hannah will topline

Chilean helmer Gustavo Graef-Marino (“Johnny One Hundred Pesos”) has signed to direct his first American pic, the suspense thriller “Diplomatic Siege,” for Trimark Pictures.

Pic, which will star Peter Weller and Daryl Hannah, is set in Eastern Europe. A career diplomat (Weller) and a consular expert (Hannah) attempt to thwart Serbian terrorists who take 37 people hostage in an American Embassy.

Tapestry Films’ Robert Levy and Peter Abrams are producing “Siege,” which Trimark exec veep of production Jonathon Komack Martin expects to begin lensing in October.

Trimark is prepared to finance the under $10 million pic itself although it is open to co-financing possibilities from foreign partners.

Graef-Marino came to attention at Sundance in 1994 with the kinetic Spanish-language “Johnny,” another hostage drama about nine men and one woman who get trapped in an office building during a rob-bery.

“Siege” was written by Bob Boris, Dylan Free, Sam Bernard and Kevin Bernhardt. Komack described it as a “reality-based political story inspired by true events.”

Trimark chairman Mark Amin came up with the concept for the story, which the company then took to Tapestry and the screenwriters. When Graef-Marino came on board, the script was tailored to his style.

“I like the approach that the Trimark guys have, and (the script’s) dark humor and its political satire,” Graef-Marino said.

He was repped by APA’s David Saunders and Brant Rose.

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