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Independent preps biopic on Liberace

Indie to develop, finance $15 mil pic

Independent Pictures has optioned the spec “Liberace” from writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.

Independent, the production and distribution outfit of producer Cary Woods, will develop and fully finance the $15 million pic. New Line Cinema will distribute it in the U.S. under its output deal with Independent.

“Liberace” is a biopic of the outrageously camp showman and pianist Wladizu (Lee) Liberace. The pic will include elements of comedy and drama, and is described as in the vein of “The People Vs. Larry Flynt.”

Financial details of the transaction were not available.

Brillstein-Grey Entertainment’s Brad Grey and Peter Safran will produce “Liberace” for Independent. Woods and Independent senior creative exec Gina Mingacci will also act as producers.

Mingacci was responsible for bringing the script to Independent and will oversee its development. The four producers are looking for a director and aiming to start production this year.

The “Liberace” sale follows Friedberg and Seltzer’s deal with Dimension Films late last year on their spoof “Scream if I Know What You Did Last Halloween.” Their other credits include the Leslie Nielsen vehicle “Spy Hard.”

“Liberace” is start-up Independent’s second development project. The other, “Life in a Minor Key,” a biopic of pianist prodigy DeWitt White, is being scripted by Jamal Joseph.

Under its New Line deal, Independent fully finances its pics and retains international rights. The company appointed Pascal Borno as senior VP in charge of foreign distribution Tuesday (Daily Variety, Jan. 5).

CAA and manager Safran repped Friedberg and Seltzer.