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Bigscreen duo turns to TV

Eye buys three scripts from brotherly shingle

Producers-helmers Ridley and Tony Scott are developing drama series projects with feature scribes Nicholas Meyer (“The Human Stain”), John Collee (“Master & Commander”) and Erik Jendresen (“The Hot Zone”) as part of their production shingle’s three-for-one deal at CBS.

Under the terms of Scott Free Prods.’ two-year pact, Eye has bought three scripts from the company; at least one is set to be produced as a drama pilot for fall 2003 consideration. Scott Free VP of television David Zucker is overseeing development of the projects.

Zucker said Scott Free’s development roster was dictated by the scribes the company was able to recruit.

“We decided to let writers (determine) where our interests would go,” Zucker told Daily Variety. “Part of our mandate from the network is exposing them to writers with whom they might not be familiar or not otherwise have access to. So it’s been a positive collaboration with the feature side (of Scott Free.)”

Projects in the works include:

  • “T.I.M.E.,” a science-fact mystery adventure described as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” meets “The X-Files” meets “Sea Hunt.” Skein will follow a group of treasure hunters turned archaeologists who discover that humankind’s past is not as science has presented it.

    “We’re trying to tell a story that’s never been told before, one that could reinvent people’s concepts of who we are and what we’re becoming,” said Jendresen, who will co-write the pilot and serve as exec producer along with Mitch Marken.

    Jendresen won an Emmy for his work on HBO’s “Band of Brothers.” In addition to adapting “The Hot Zone” for Fox, scribe has several features in development, including “300 Spartans” for Fox, “Fire” for DreamWorks and the indie pic “Saint X.”

  • “Flying Hospital,” a drama that explores the operations of an independent first-response medical team that goes into hostile territories around the globe. Skein will explore not only medical crises but the political consequences of the team’s operations.

    Collee, who wrote the upcoming Russell Crowe pic “Master & Commander,” will write and exec produce the pilot. Giannina Facio and Susan Feiles will be co-producers, while Caroline Zelder, Frank Antonelli and Mark Byers are on board as consulting producers.

    “What’s really compelling about this project is that it works on a number of levels,” Zucker said. “You have the immediacy and urgency of the medical situation, but it also brings up a lot of very provocative issues in a show that has a great kind of tension underneath it.”

    Collee, a Scotsman who lives in Australia, started out as a trained physician and later became a novelist and feature writer.

  • Meyer is writing and exec producing an untitled international legal drama for Scott Free that will explore what happens when U.S. legal and moral standards clash with those of other nations. Kim Rubin will serve as co-exec producer while Kathleen Pratt will be a consultant.

    “This is a show about a lawyer who goes abroad to deal with cases … that are both grave and pertinent and at other times simply hilarious,” Meyer said. “Through his eyes we learn about ourselves from the point of view of other countries.”

    Lawyer will serve as a surrogate both of the U.S. legal system and the viewer, Meyer said.

Meyer wrote the critically acclaimed and massively watched telepic “The Day After.” He said he’s been “trying to sell TV projects for years, but it wasn’t until I teamed up with (Scott Free) that it came to pass.”

Meyer-penned “The Human Stain,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Niclole Kidman, is in post-production. WMA-repped scribe/helmer is also known for his work as a director/writer on several “Star Trek” pics, including “The Wrath of Khan.”

Scott Free Prods. is repped by CAA, as are Jendresen and Collee.