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Blanks to helm WB romantic horror pic

Director also developing 'Relatives'

“Urban Legend” director Jamie Blanks will helm “Valentine,” a potential romantic horror franchise that Warner Bros. Pictures has targeted for a 2001 Valentine’s Day release.

Blanks is also developing the thriller “Blood Relative” with screenwriter David Scarpa for Phoenix Pictures, the company that produced “Urban Legend.” It’s unclear which project will go first.

Based on Tom Savage’s 1996 book “Valentine: A Novel,” story is initially set on a college campus, where a nerd is humiliated by a group of women. Ten years later, transformed into a handsome and successful man, he seeks seduction with and horrific revenge on each of his former sweethearts.

The studio hopes to cast the modestly budgeted film with young TV stars on summer hiatus.

Warners originally acquired “Valentine” in May 1998. The studio later put the project into turnaround, where it was picked up by Artisan. The indie almost put “Valentine” into production before pulling the plug, and the project has since returned to Warners, where Blanks will soon be negotiating his deal.

With Blanks on board to direct, the studio hopes to have the script ready for a summer start and a February 2001 release. Dylan Sellers will produce the film, which is overseen by Warner Bros. exec Kevin McCormack.

“Valentine” was written by Donna and Wayne Powers, with a rewrite from Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg, exec story editors of “Beverly Hills 90210.”

Blanks is repped by UTA and by Simon Millar at the Firm.

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