Ward in WB script pact

'Icemen' first project for newcomer

HOLLYWOOD — Warner Bros. has signed newcomer Jon Ward to a mid-six-figure, two-picture screenplay deal, kicked off by a rewrite of feature script “Icemen,” a techno-comedy about a secret government agency that tracks down and confiscates dangerous new inventions.

Pic, which Warners may develop as a possible big-budget tentpole feature, stems from an idea originally developed by Adam Gibgot and first-drafted by Keith Bernstein, then sold to Turner Pictures prior to Turner’s merger with WB. Title refers to an acronym for ‘Invention Control and Elimination” group.

Gibgot, president of Equus Entertainment, and John Davis of Fox-based Davis Entertainment, are attached to produce. No directors or talent have signed on to “Icemen.”

Ward’s second writing project under his new WB pact is a blind writing commitment.

Gibgot, who has a first-look deal with Davis Entertainment, is producing features “The What If Guy” at Paramount, “Something Wicked” at Fox and “Confidence Men” at New Line.

Ward may be ideally suited for the “Icemen” writing gig, based upon his background. As a physics undergrad at the U. of Washington, Ward was a member of a team awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in physics for its research into atomic particles. After college, Ward was recruited by the U.S. State Dept.’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where he worked to safeguard American embassies, consulates and other facilities from electronic eavesdropping and other technological espionage.

But Ward really wanted to direct. He quit his job as a foreign service officer and returned to U. of Washington to study film and screenwriting. He won the screenwriting prize at this year’s Seattle Film Festival for his spec script “April.” His comedy spec, “Boredom, USA,” brought him Hollywood attention.

WB production exec Lionel Wigram is overseeing “Icemen” for the studio.

Ward is repped by his agents at United Talent Agency and managers Jeff Graup and Todd Berger at Giant Step Entertainment.