Prufrock hits road with ‘Desert’

Greenberg to make helming debut with indie thriller

Meg Ryan and Nina Sadowsky’s Prufrock Pictures has teamed with start-up finance/production company Sagg Main Prods. to produce the noirish road thriller “Desert Saints.”

The $2.5 million indie pic will mark the directorial debut of Richard Greenberg, who also wrote the original screenplay about a professional killer traveling in the American Southwest.

Ryan and Sadowsky will produce along with David Yudain of Sagg Main. Casting director Mindy Marin also will serve as associate producer on the project, which the companies hope to get before the cameras this fall.

“Desert Saints” tells the story of an Ivy League killer-for-hire who picks up a woman and tries to recruit her as his accomplice — but she isn’t the girl he thought she was. The pic then becomes a battle of wits between the two.

The film will mark the first feature financed and produced by Sagg Main. The newly formed banner recently was established by Yudain, a general partner in Rural Telco and the former corporate affairs director of Sotheby’s; Arthur G. Altschul Jr., founder and co-chairman of merchant banking firm Diaz & Altschul Group; and Richard Treibick, owner and prexy of Cable Holdings, which owns cable television systems in the southeastern U.S.

Sagg Main — named after the main street and beach in Sagaponack, N.Y., an old farming village near the Hamptons where the idea for the banner was hatched — intends “Desert Saints” as the first of a slate of $2 million to $5 million projects, which the company will produce and finance. The company, whose day-to-day operations are overseen by Yudain, has established offices in L.A. and New York.

Greenberg has been working in the film business since graduating in 1988 from Brown U. During that time, he has worked as a first assistant director on several films, including those by Nicole Holofcener (“Walking and Talking”) and Hal Hartley (“Henry Fool”).

“Our commitment to ‘Desert Saints’ and its writer/director Rich Greenberg is indicative of Prufrock’s desire to identify and support the next wave of American filmmakers,” said Ryan. “We hope that this project is the first in a series of films through which we can nurture emerging talent.”

In addition to “Desert Saints,” Prufrock, which earlier this year inked a three-year, first-look feature pact with Castle Rock Pictures, is developing the supernatural thriller “Lost Souls,” which will mark the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski for New Line. The company also is producing Alan Zweibel’s romantic comedy “Love Me Two Times” for Fox 2000; the political thriller “The Protected” for Working Title; the animated feature “Shekhar” for Fox Animation Studios; the teen thriller “A Hard Night’s Dream” at Castle Rock; and “The Wedding Planner” and “When I Close My Eyes” at Fine Line.

Prufrock also recently entered into a two-year exclusive deal to develop longform TV projects for Polygram Television.