Count on ‘Cristo’

Intermedia, Zoetrope pair on del Toro pic

CANNES — Guillermo del Toro’s “Montecristo” is gaining a new lease on life, as Guy East and Nigel Sinclair’s Intermedia has come on board to finance and produce the pic with Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope.

Coppola, Fred Fuchs and B.J. Rack will produce and Intermedia will executive produce the film based on the classic Alexandre Dumas novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Del Toro is supervising Matthew Robbins’ rewrite of the script, originally penned by L.M. Kit Carson.

The $30 million pic is a reworking of Dumas’ tale, transposed from France in the 1830s to Mexico in the 1870s — blending elements of gothic literature with those of the Western.

“Montecristo” originally was with East at his previous outfit Majestic Films, but Zoetrope took over sole ownership when East ankled the company to form Intermedia.

Intermedia’s expanding roster of feature films includes Willard Carroll’s “Dancing About Architecture,” which recently began principal photography. Co-median Jon Stewart is the final cast member to sign onto the ensemble pic, joining Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Anthony Edwards, Angelina Jolie, Jay Mohr, Ryan Philippe, Dennis Quaid, Gena Rowlands and Madeleine Stowe.

The low-budget film is being produced by Hyperion Entertainment’s partners Carrol and Tom Wilhite along with Meg Liberman. “Dancing” is being co-financed and co-distributed by Intermedia and Miramax Films. Miramax has U.S. and U.K. rights; Intermedia the rest of the world.

Intermedia also is in advanced talks to bring “My Best Friend’s Wedding” co-star Dermot Mulroney on board the Paul Newman, Linda Fiorentino-starrer “Where the Money Is,” which begins production in June under Marek Kanievska’s helm. Ridley Scott, Chuck Weinstock and Chris Zarpas are producing, and Intermedia is handling international rights.

The company also is developing “The Bang Bang Club,” which Emilio Estevez will produce, direct and possibly star in. The screenplay, by Robert Orr and Shawn Slovo, tells the true story of Kevin Carter, an acclaimed frontlines war photographer who struggled to balance his journalistic career with the effect it has on his subjects. Intermedia will take exec-producing credit on the film produced under the Estevez Prods. banner. Pic is expected to go before cameras this summer in South Africa and New York.

(Adam Dawtrey contributed to this report.)