C23 skidoo: ‘Wild’ bunch

New projects, TV plans unveiled

Two years after its launch at the Cannes Film Festival, Catch 23 Entertainment has unveiled new projects with “Chocolat” producer David Brown, directors Christine Jeffs (“Rain”) and Michael Radford (“Il Postino”) as well as announcing plans to move into the TV business.

C23 has acquired film rights to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford’s novel “Wildlife,” which New Zealand filmmaker Jeffs (“Rain”) will adapt and direct. The Montana-set tale is a coming-of-age story about a teenager and his family’s struggles to find a better life. Jeffs recently signed with C23 Management for representation.

Company is developing an adaptation of James Patterson’s best-seller “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas,” which Brown will produce. Pic centers on a Manhattan book editor who believes she has found her dream man, only to have him disappear from her life and later discovers revelations about his life in a diary.

Catch 23 is also in negotiation with Gaylord to produce an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s “South of the Border, West of the Sun,” with Michael Radford attached to direct. “South of the Border” describes the arc of a man’s life from childhood o middle age, framed by a lost love.

C23, under the helm of chairman Robert Sturm and prexy Jeremy Barber is also in discussions with networks and producers to ink an overall TV deal.

Barber says that with C23’s burgeoning talent business, he sees an opportunity in TV studios’ increasing disinterest in overall deals.

“We are mirroring what we have done on the feature film side in TV,” says Barber. “We have the opportunity to put A-list writers and show-runners together and to finance pilots we can take to the networks..”

Barber indicated C23 is also likely to explore relationships with TV broadcasters and production entities in the UK. Last year, the LA-based film production and finance shingle formed a UK-based production and finance venture with ICM U.K. and its principals Duncan Heath and Lindsey Posner.

C23 has attracted high-profile managers such as Pat Dollard, who reps Steven Soderbergh and Agnieszka Holland, and John Carabbino, who reps Renee Zellweger.

C23 recently added clients such as Burr Steers (“Igby goes Down”). Emma Kate Croghan (“Love and Other Catastrophes”) and commercial helmer John Bonito, who did the James Bond-style teaser for the Winter Olympics.

“We are targetting all entry points of the market, with quality as the only qualifying theme,” says Dolland. “It has been an adrenaline-filled five months.”

In addition to pursuing talent mangers, C23 may acquire other management companies.

“Our goal is to have a full service but “Tiffany” boutique management company which we will grow organically,” says Barber. We have no ambition to become a pseudo agency.” Said Strum, “Over the next few years we will continue to gradually grow C23, to create a fully-integrated company which is known in the marketplace for producing high-quality commercial movies and television product.”

Other titles on its slate include a Reese Witherspoon vehicle developed from Melissa Banks’ best-selling short story collection, “The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing”; an untitled feature by “In the Bedroom” helmer Todd Field and “Runt,” to be directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.

Also up are an adaptation of Amanda Filipacchi’s novel “Vapor,” to be written and directed by Neil LaBute, the Selma Hayek starrer “Murphy’s Law” and Robert Ferrigno’s novel “Heartbreaker” to be adapted for the screen by Scott Silver.