‘Johnny’ takes Independent route

Kaufman to direct $30 mil gangster romance

CANNES — Independent Pictures will handle international distribution on a $30 million drama about the tumultuous relationship between gangster Johnny Stompanato and actress Lana Turner, directed by Philip Kaufman.

“Johnny Stompanato,” formerly in development at Paramount Pictures, is being produced by Martin Elfand (“An Officer and a Gentleman”). The script is by David Webb Peoples (“Unforgiven”) and Janet Peoples.

The pic becomes the first pickup by Independent’s new international arm under senior VP of international Pascal Borno.

Stompanato and Turner had a violent affair in the 1950s, which ended when Turner’s daughter killed Stompanato with a knife.

Independent, which Cary Woods launched in May 1998, distributes domestically via New Line Cinema, which has equity in the company. Independent sells overseas rights itself.

Independent’s slate includes Mark Hanlon’s “Buddy Boy,” starring Aida Gillen and Emmanuelle Seigner; Harmony Korine’s “The Julien Chronicles,” starring Ewen Bremner and Chloe Sevigny; and “The Prime Gig,” starring Vince Vaughn.

Kaufman is currently in pre-production on “Quills” for Fox Searchlight.