Mandalay game for Murray pic

'Luck' based on winningest quizzer contestant

NEW YORK — Mandalay has offered a lifeline to the gameshow comedy “Press Your Luck” and is near a deal to put the film into production by year’s end with Bill Murray starring and Howard Franklin directing his own script.

Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films and Stanley Brooks’ Once Upon a Time Films are producing the pic.

Script is based on the true story of Michael Larsen, who, after becoming a victim of the corporate downsizing of the early 80s and losing his job as an ice cream truck driver in Lebanon, Ohio, got hooked on watching the daytime gameshow “Press Your Luck.” Eventually he learned that one could memorize the 1,300 patterns on a prize board that determine whether a contestant racked up a lot of money or was eliminated by drawing a “whammy.” Larsen got on the show and wound up becoming the top winning contestant of a daytime show, raking in more than $100,000 to the disbelief of the producers and host.

Project was originally bought and developed by Columbia from a pitch (Daily Variety, Feb. 28). Brooks and Cage will produce the film, with Scott Anderson and Norm Golightly exec producing. Despite the current gameshow fixation, Col put the film in turnaround and five suitors bid. Mandalay got the upper hand and will distribute through its output deal at Paramount.

Franklin, who previously directed Murray in “Quick Change,” is repped by APA’s David Saunders and managed by Industry Entertainment’s Rosalie Swedlin. Murray is repped by CAA.

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