Crusader culls Cussler

'Sahara' to be first pic of action-adventure adaptations

CANNES — Crusader Entertainment has greenlit an adaptation of “Sahara,” in what’s planned as the first in a series of movies based on best-selling action-adventure books by Clive Cussler, with production slated to start Oct. 28 for helmer Rob Bowman (“The X-Files”).

Pic will be released stateside through Paramount, which inked a three-year, first-look U.S. distribution deal with the Howard Baldwin-headed Crusader in January 2001.

Par also has picked up U.K., Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand distribution rights to the pic, with the remaining international territories being sold through Crusader’s international sales agent Summit Entertainment.

“Clive’s Dirk Pitt books have an enormous, fanatical following, and his characters and stories demand the kind of bigscreen adaptation that Rob can deliver,” said Sherry Lansing, chairman of Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group.

Pic will mainly be shot on the sand dunes of Namibia and is the first installment in the series of books about Pitt, an adventurer and master explorer.

“The weather is perfect for shooting in late October,” said Crusader Entertainment prexy Baldwin. “Land, sea and the elements all play a big part in Clive’s stories, so we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to capture an environment befitting the terrific story.”