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Gabriel Mann has signed a two-picture deal with RKO Pictures chairman-CEO Ted Hartley that will launch with him toplining a remake of RKO’s 1945 thriller “The Brighton Strangler.”

Hartley will produce, with Mann’s managers Michael McConnell and Rochelle Parker exec producing. Along with Mann, they’ll tap the RKO library for a second remake project to follow “Strangler,” a drama about a thesp who takes method acting a step too far: He’s playing a murderer in a movie and commits one in real life.

RKO execs Julia Halperin, Peter Morgan and Rachel Murray will shepherd both projects, which will be financed and distributed internationally through RKO Intl.

“One of my earliest memories of film was the RKO logo rolling across the screen,” Mann said. “To be working with this talented group of people at RKO is incredibly exciting, and I’m honored for the opportunity.”

RKO pacts with Mann at a time when the actor is poised for a breakthrough. He stars with Katie Holmes and Benjamin Bratt in the upcoming Stephen Gaghan-directed Paramount drama “Abandon,” as well as “Buffalo Soldiers” for Miramax and Universal’s “The Bourne Identity” and “The Life of David Gale.” He next will star for Warner Bros. in the prequel to “The Exorcist.”

“Gabriel is a huge talent and someone we believe in,” Hartley said. “He represents the kind of cutting edge talent that has always excelled at RKO.”