Focus has new ‘Assault’ plan

Co. teams to remake Carpenter's cult fave

NEW YORK — Focus Features will team with Stephane Sperry’s Liaisons Films and Why Not Prods. on an updated U.S. version of John Carpenter’s cult classic “Assault on Precinct 13,” to be distributed domestically by the Universal specialty unit and handled worldwide by its international sales arm.

Project is coming together as part of Liaisons’ multi-year first-look production deal with Focus.

Why Not principal Pascal Caucheteux developed and will co-produce the English-language feature, which is being scripted by James DeMonaco (“The Negotiator”), based on Carpenter’s original thriller.

Focus is fast-tracking the project and now is looking to bring a director on board.

Inspired by Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo,” the 1976 “Assault” took place in an isolated, nearly abandoned Los Angeles police station, in which officers, staff and prisoners are forced to negotiate a partnership when a vengeful street gang lays siege to the building.

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“Just as John Carpenter refashioned a Western shootout into an inner-city siege, James is now reimagining the essential crime thriller elements of a showdown,” Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus said. “We want to carry this storytelling torch into the 21st century.”

The new version transports the story to the present day, in a police precinct made obsolete by the industrialization of its surroundings.

” ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ is a favorite of film buffs and action fans worldwide — and this remake will be smart, fast and fun,” Sperry added.

Amy Kaufman, exec VP of acquisitions and co-productions at Focus, will oversee the project along with Liaisons VP, development and acquisitions Elizabeth Dreyer. The pic will be shot in North America.

The “Assault’ deal marks the second project assembled under Focus’ pact with Liaisons, following Pascal Laugier’s thriller “Saint-Ange,” which began production in France last month, starring Virginie Ledoyen and Lou Doillon.

Headed by Caucheteux and Gregoire Sorlat, Paris-based Why Not has produced features by Arnaud Desplechin, Gregg Araki, Philippe Garrel, Bruno Podalydes, Jean-Francois Richet and Alexandre Rockwell.