Vegas tigers go Imax

Siegfried & Roy team with L-Squared for film

L-Squared Entertainment is putting together a large-format Imax pic about the lives of Las Vegas-based magicians/tiger-lovers Siegfried & Roy.

Pic, which will start shooting this month in Vegas and L.A., will be directed by Brett Leonard (“Lawnmower Man,” “Virtuosity”), who created L-Squared with former media investment banker Michael Lewis.

The film will explore the lives of Siegfried & Roy — from their German roots to their long-running magic spectacle at Vegas’ Mirage Hotel. It will also delve into their well-documented conservation efforts to save the white tiger and white lion from extinction.

Siegfried & Roy’s show, which millions have seen at the Mirage, is known for its use of white tigers, white lions and even elephants onstage, as well as a panoply of illusions and disappearing acts.

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Leonard, Lewis and Lexington Road Prods.’ Lou Gonda will produce the pic. Leonard and Lyn Vaus, who penned the indie pic “Next Stop Wonderland,” are scripting.

“Brett and Michael are the perfect filmmaking team to bring our story to the giant Imax screen,” Roy said.

Added Siegfried: “They share an understanding of what we do with our magic and animals. We’re certain that the end result will be a world-class production that will thrill and excite audiences everywhere.”

Financing for the Imax effort is coming from Lexington, Foundry Film Partners Jon Ein and Robert Greenhut, and Films’ Jorge Gallegos and Adrian Scrope.

Ein, Greenhut and Siegfried & Roy manager Bernie Yuman will exec produce.

Imax will distrib the film worldwide to the network of Imax 3-D theaters starting in July 1999.

“The life story of Siegfried & Roy is an inspirational, magical journey which proves that if you dream hard enough and big enough, anything can come true,” said Leonard.

For L-Squared, the pic will mark the first project the company has handled completely — from creative development to physical production and securing financing.

Leonard and Lewis teamed on an earlier Imax film, “T-Rex: Back to the Crustaceous,” which is slated for an October release. The company, founded in 1995, calls itself the studio of the future with projects in film, TV, the Internet and location-based entertainment.

The pic will also be Foundry’s first venture into the Imax arena.