After ‘Space,’ Hopkins goes ‘Wild’

Helmer to helm contempo Western

In a change of pace from his big-budget New Line sci-fi pic “Lost in Space,” helmer Stephen Hopkins has committed to direct “Wild Horses,” a female contempo Western to be produced by Marc and Peter Samuelson.

The pic, scheduled to shoot late summer in the U.S., is based on an original screenplay by Karen O’Toole. According to the Samuelsons, it’s about “two endangered species — wild horses and women in the American West.”

Hopkins was due to move from “Lost in Space” to “The Chrysalids,” another big-budget sci-fi pic that the Samuelsons are also producing. But the director decided he wanted to do a smaller-scale human drama before returning to sci-fi. “Chrysalids” will now follow “Wild Horses.”

The Samuelsons, who have just finished the Tim Robbins starrer “Arlington Road” and whose “Wilde” opened in the U.S. two weeks ago to strong numbers, have also added a number of other elements to their bulging slate.

Gavin Scott, scripter of “The Borrowers” and the upcoming “Small Soldiers,” has signed to write a screenplay based on the cult novel “Good Omen,” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

“Save Me Joe Louis,” a longtime Samuelson project in partnership with producer Michele Camarda, has returned to the fast track after director John Roberts reconfirmed his commitment. The project was on hold while Roberts went to direct the DreamWorks family movie “Paulie.” Based on a book by Madison Smartt Bell, adapted by Roberts, it’s a contempo drama about a young man hooked into crime by an artful dodger, and his attempts to disentangle himself.

A new project picked up by the Samuelsons is “The Bank Job,” written by John-Paul Chapple (a former TV exec who exec produced “Hear My Song”). Stuart Orme is attached to direct. It’s a high-concept caper comedy about a gang robbing a bank while pretending to shoot a TV commercial.

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