‘Joe’ directing gig is first for Durst

Limp Bizkit singer to be involved with soundtrack

NEW YORK — Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst will make his feature directorial debut on “Life Without Joe,” a thriller scripted by Brent V. Friedman (“Mortal Kombat II”).

A co-production between American World Pictures and Immortal Entertainment, pic will begin production in September. Durst will be heavily involved in an accompanying soundtrack album to be done for his Flawless label, distributed through Interscope Records.

Durst has long sought to direct a film. Several studios have been angling to get him behind the camera, some on projects with much larger budgets. The producers said Durst focused on “Joe” for his debut because it’s a drama he can use to showcase his skills; it also has a budget of $10 million or less, which lessens the pressure and allows him the creative control he craved.

The producers have been working closely with Durst’s manager, Jeff Kwatinetz of the Firm, to make the timing work. Durst starts a European tour with Limp Bizkit this week and will begin prepping the film when he finishes.

A younger ‘Deliverance’

“Joe” is described as “Deliverance” for the younger set. A group of teen football players stop in a nowhere town, where an odd character accuses them of running over a cat. The teammates soon find themselves running for their lives through backwoods populated by some scary locals.

The drama was hatched by Immortal’s Happy Walters, who’s co-producing with American World Pictures’ Mark L. Lester and Dana Dubovsky.

Durst has developed his visual style directing videos for his band and others, including Korn and Staind.

AWP exec veep of acquisitions and worldwide distribution Todd Olsson said Durst is more than just a rock star dabbling in the film game.

“This film is violent by nature, but Fred wants to make it a commercial film,” Olsson said. “We were excited by his enthusiasm, intelligence and understanding of the marketplace, along with his story sense and the visual style he showed in the video work.

“He told us about some experiences he’s had with (‘Seven’ helmer) David Fincher, learning how to build tension into the picture, which made this project so appealing.”

American World Pictures’ slate includes “Walter’s Purple Heart,” adapted by Catherine Ryan Hyde (“Pay It Forward”) from her novel. Olsson describes it as a “Ghost”-like film about two friends in love with the same girl who go off to fight in Vietnam.