Vortex, Cage forge ‘Chain’ link

Pic reteams thesp with screenwriter Rice

International sales and financing outfit Vortex Pictures has reteamed with Nicolas Cage on a second project, “Chain,” to be produced by Cage through his L.A.-based production shingle Saturn Films.

Vortex is currently repping international sales rights on Cage’s directorial debut, “Sonny,” in which Cage stars alongside James Franco, Brenda Blethyn, Mena Suvari, Harry Dean Stanton and Scott Caan.

“Chain,” reteams Cage with the screenwriter John Rice, who penned the upcoming Cage starrer “Windtalkers” for MGM.

Rice will also direct “Chain,” described as “The Crow” with biker gangs, a gritty revenge tale about a modern-day cowboy who rides a Harley Davidson horse. Pic, which has yet to cast, is expected to start shooting in late summer.

“I’m thrilled to be back in business with Nicolas Cage,” says Rice. “We’re all looking forward to a summer 2003 release for this high-octane, hard-rock driven, kick-ass existential actioner.”

“Sonny,” currently in post-production, has closed distribution deals with Gaga in Japan, Manga in Spain, Belga in Benelux, Pyramid in Russia, and Audio Visual in Greece among others. Vortex is showing 30 minutes of footage of the film at Cannes.