Warner Bros. signs Sellers

High scores on 'Replacements' leads to 2-yr. deal

NEW YORK — After test scores on the Keanu Reeves/Gene Hackman comedy “The Replacements” emboldened Warner Bros. to call an audible and move the gridiron film out of football season and into late summer release, the studio has staked the film’s producer, Dylan Sellers, to a two-year overall deal at the studio.

Sellers, who produced “The Replacements” with Erwin Stoff of 3 Arts, is a former exec VP of production at Fox who was prexy of Lee Rich Prods. and veep at Simpson-Bruckheimer Prods. He has produced such films as “Out to Sea,” “Passenger 57,” “The Paper” and “Big Bully.” While at Fox, he helped shepherd such projects as “There’s Something About Mary,” “Nine Months” and “The Crucible.”

“Dylan did a great job with ‘The Replacements,’ and as a result of that success, Alan Horn and I decided to expand the relationship,” said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, WB president of worldwide production. “He has three or four projects already that can quickly be made into films for the studio.”

Bloody ‘Valentine’

Those projects include “Valentine,” a horror film about four childhood friends being stalked by the same spurned suitor. Scripted by Donna and Wayne Powers, Erin Harberts and Gretchen Berg, the thriller is being directed by Jamie Blanks and has been fast-tracked toward production so that it can hit theaters on Valentine’s Day.

WB has signed Frank Marshall to direct the Sellers-produced “The Expendables,” a Scott Smith-scripted drama about prison-trained divers recruited by the Navy for a dangerous mission.

Confederate caper

Another Sellers-produced project is “Escape From Libby Prison,” about an attempt to get out of a Confederate prison. The script, originated by Scott Abbott (“Queen of the Damned”), is being rewritten by scribe Charlie Mitchell. WB is also moving quickly on “The Green Eagle Score,” an adaptation of the Donald Westlake novel centered around a heist on a military base. The film is being scripted by Alexander Ignon, who wrote “Ransom.”

Sellers is also producing with Erwin Stoff “Fishing for Moonlight,” a film set up at WB and Village Roadshow Pictures as a starring vehicle for Reeves. Scripted by Jack Olsen, it’s based on a true story of a stockbroker with a penchant for prostitutes. He becomes intertwined with a Russian woman who has been forced into selling her body by the Russian mob and he risks his life to liberate her, falling in love in the process.

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