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Fine Line lines ’em up

Herzog, Fall projects part of busy slate

CANNES — Fine Line Features has put its foot on the accelerator, setting up a pic to be directed by Werner Herzog, striking a first-look deal with “Trick” director Jim Fall and taking U.S. rights to Slamdance favorite “Man of the Century.”

The company is also negotiating a first-look deal with Gavin O’Connor, director of its fall release “Tumbleweeds,” starring Janet McTeer. Plus, it has taken an option on the next project of Adam Abraham, director of “Century.”

And coming into Cannes, Fine Line bought U.S. rights to “Simpatico,” which stars Sharon Stone, Jeff Bridges and Nick Nolte.

The upsurge in activity represents an effort by Fine Line prexy Mark Ordesky to invigorate the New Line arthouse after a quiet couple of years — in both dealmaking and at the box office.

“I want to build a family of talent,” says Ordesky, whose other production deals are with Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Prods. and Industry Entertainment. “I will advance these (filmmakers) some money for overhead, and they will develop the projects that they want to do.”

Fine Line hasn’t put much into production since Ordesky became president in January 1998. That’s about to change. Currently lensing is “Invisible Circus,” starring Jordana Brewster, Christopher Eccleston and Cameron Diaz. In pre-production is Guy Jenkin’s “Sleeping Dictionary,” which is out to cast.

Meanwhile, Fine Line is in talks to partner with Cary Woods’ Independent Pictures (which would take foreign) on the drama “Invincible,” with Herzog attached to direct based on his original script. Pic, which E. Max Frye is re-writing, is a fable-like story set during WWII.

Other upcoming productions are the Ice Cube vehicle “Pimp,” with Kevin Hooks directing; “The Palace Thief,” based on Ethan Canin’s short stories; “Fresh Kills,” “The Locked Room” and “Monsters Ball.”