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Summit ‘Minute’ waltz partner

'Blade's' Norrington, Justice to make comedy next

“Blade” helmer Stephen Norrington and his producing partner Matthew Justice have signed a deal with Summit Entertainment to finance and distribute their next pic, “The Last Minute.”

The black comedy, penned by Norrington, is set in the London underworld. It centers around the character of Billy Byrne, a kid on the point of making it big. When Billy’s world suddenly detonates, he is brought face to face with the price of failure.

Summit and Newmarket Capital will fully finance the moderately priced pic, which Norrington and Justice plan to shoot in the U.K. next spring. Summit, headed by prexy Patrick Wachsberger, will handle international distribution, while domestic is not yet set.

“Stephen Norrington will undoubtedly bring to this project the powerfully energetic style that we’ve seen with ‘Blade,'” commented Wachsberger.

Potent Venom

Justice will produce the pic through his and Norrington’s moniker, Venom Entertainment. “Summit has extended to us an extremely attractive creative arrangement,” he said.

Prior to “Blade,” Justice and Norrington collaborated on the low-budget British special effects actioner “Death Machine,” which brought them to the attention of New Line. While Norrington directed “Blade,” Justice was credited as visual effects producer.

At Venom, Norrington and Justice are developing a number of other projects, including actioner “Godhead,” which Norrington described as an “indie James Bond movie.”

Venom is based in London, but may eventually relocate to L.A. “We’re trying to avoid overhead and we’re working on a project-by-project basis so we don’t get caught in development hell,” said Norrington.

“Blade,” which starred Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff and Kris Kristofferson, has grossed $82 million worldwide to date. Pic’s success generated a number of studio offers for Norrington, but the helmer said that he decided to make “Minute” to demonstrate his range.

“Minute,” which is currently casting, will begin shooting on March 1 in London.

Heidi Lester, Summit senior VP of acquisitions and productions, was instrumental in bringing the project to Summit. ICM and attorney Samuel Fischer negotiated for Venom.

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