Nielsen in pilot seat for ‘2001’

He'll star in Konvitz comedy release

CANNES — Leslie Nielsen will write, executive produce and star in the $25-$30 million comedy “2001: A Space Travesty.”

The Jeffrey Konvitz Filmgroup Presentation release is being financed as a Canadian-French-German co-production, with the possible involvement of the U.K.

While Canada will be the majority partner, the film will shoot in each of the territories with a mixed European/North American cast.

Quadra Entertainment will handle international sales outside the co-production territories.

Los Angeles-based Imperial Bank is providing bank financing. According to Konvitz, the film will be fully financed by the co-production partners and foreign sales, with little or no gap on the domestic side.

German distributor Helkon Media, which has a strong relationship with Quadra, is in talks to be the German partner on the picture, although no deal is done.

In “2001,” U.S. Marshall Dick Dix (Nielsen) is assigned to investigate a “presence detected” on a lunar mining colony. Dix uncovers a sinister plot, eventually foiling the kidnapping of several world leaders.

Nielsen will write the script with Canadian scribes Francesco Lucente, Olivia Lucente and Joseph Bitoni.

No director or producer is set.

Nielsen and Konvitz will exec produce together. Indie consultant Veronique Mengard will work on foreign sales and, together with Konvitz, structuring the co-production deals.

“I like the idea of being able to do an independent film,” Nielsen says.

The screenplay will be written this summer and the pic is slated to begin lensing in February. Shooting could last up to 65 days, followed by “significant” amounts of CGI work, per Konvitz, in post-production.

Konvitz and Nielsen last collaborated on Disney’s action-comedy “Spy Hard,” which starred Nielsen and which Konvitz produced.

Nielsen’s other credits include “The Naked Gun” series, “Airplane,” “Dracula: Dead and Loving it” and “Mr. Magoo.” He stars in the upcoming Warner Bros. comedy, “Wrongfully Accused.”

Nielsen is repped by Bresler-Kelly & Associates’ Sandy Bresler.

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